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Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Religiosity”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Religiosity.” You can view other subjects here.

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My subject for tonight is “The Law of Tithing.”  1.  In the law of tithing all the Lord asks for is one-tenth of your total earnings.  It is used to pay for the building of temples, churches, church schools etc.

2.  Brigham Young once said We are not our own.  We are bought with a price, we are the Lords; our time, our talents, our gold and silver, our wheat and flour, our wine and oil, our cattle and all there is on this earth that we have in our possession is the Lord’s, and he requires one-tenth of this for the building of his kingdom upon this earth.  Whether we have much or little, one-tenth should be paid in for Tithing.

3.  He also said, I never had $500, $100, $1.00, 50 cents, 25 cents, but what, if it were wanted by the Lord, it went as free as a cup of water in a well.

4.  Tithing was practiced during the days of Abraham, Enoch, and Adam and his children never forgot their tithes and offerings.

5.  In the days of Abraham, people paid tithing in the form of flocks of sheep and cattle.

6.  In the days of Brigham Young in the form of farm products, food, etc.

7.  Now they pay it in the form of money.

8.  I want to say this much for those who profess to be Latter Day Saints—if we neglect our tithes and offerings we will receive the chastening hand of the Lord and we may just as well count on this first as last.

9.  In this dispensation tithing was originated when in the fall of 1834, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery set an example for the church by covenanting with the Lord, to pay one-tenth of all he should give him to bestowed upon the poor, as Jacob had covenanted centuries before.  

10.  Tithing was officially revealed for the church July 8, 1838 at Far West by revelation.

11.  In Malachi 3 chapt. 8 to 10 verses God Says.  Will a man rob God?  Yet, ye have robbed Me.  But ye say, wherein have we robbed Thee?  In tithes and offerings, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven; and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be not room enough to receive it.

12.  The people are not compelled to pay their tithing, they do as they please about it, it is urged upon them only as a matter of duty between them and God.  But if you pretend to pay tithing pay it as honest men and women.

13.  The law of tithing is a test by which all people as individuals shall be proved.  Anyone who fails to observe this principle shall be known as one who is indifferent to the welfare of Zion.

14.  So, hereafter I hope everybody here will be honest with the Lord and pay their tithes.

[LJAD, Speech by LJA, about 1929]

Ca. April, 1936


Disadvantages of Teaching Evolution in Schools

  1. Upsets students’ belief in the Bible
    1. Parts of Bible in opposition to theory of Evolution
      1. Story of creation of man
      2. Disputes Bible doctrine of reproduction according to kind.

B.  Students would consider Bible no longer meaningful or authentic.

    1.  If one part is wrong, all may be wrong.

    2.  Work and doctrines of Adam, Noah, and Abram would be discredited.

      C.  Evolution tends to upset belief in God.

    1.  Darwin disbelieved in God

        2.  Only a very small percent of evolutionists believe in the existence of God.

  1. Upsets students’ faith in humanity and Goodness
    1. Student feels that man no longer is divinely ordained.

    1.  Psychological reaction—student loses faith.

    2.  Will tend to revert to law of jungle and think basely of himself and others.

      B.  Upset his moral behavior

    1.  Will tend to behave less like man should

    2.  Case of Babe Leopold, believer in Evolution.

      C.  Evolution preaches survival of the fittest.

              1.  Therefore, medicine is a detriment.

    2.  And we should not care for sick, and afflicted.

  1. Diverts attention from more pressing problems into mere speculation.
    1. Shifts attention back countless ages.

    1.  Political special, and scientific problems of present are forgotten

    2.  Men get to trifling over minute details over past ages

B.  Tends to accept every new theory taught.

  1.  Will study it instead of problems of greater importance

  2.  Dangerous to preach theories instead of facts.

C.  Evolution—merely guesswork—leaves student in a quandary.

  1.  Student wonders if anything can be true.

  2.      ”        becomes all excited over the new theory and a radical change comes         over him and his actions

[LJAD, ca. April, 1936]

NOVEMBER 30–$.15

Worked all day today, and it was pretty hard.  We built a road behind the Music Conservatories.  My fellow worker was a Soph named Hubbard.  He batched and had been a sheepherder for 5 years.  His high school credits had been gained by correspondence.  Philosophy is his major and we had several arguments & discussions on various aspects of philosophy.  I still don’t accept behaviorism & still have a strong testimony of the truth of the philosophy of Mormonism.


Forgot that this was fast Sunday and ate a hearty breakfast, but, of course, received no evening dinner.  Attended Sunday School.  Spent the afternoon monkeying and reading, & playing ping-pong.  Went to church in the evening & Rev. Purdy of the Methodist Church gave a splendid sermon on the earth and we as God’s creations.  During a moment of abstraction I found a terrible flaw in my solution to the problem of evolution, so I have to start all over again.  Had an argument with Bill abt. The existence of the devil, also abt. there being any future life.

[LJAD, November 30-December 1,  1935]


Planned to work 2½ hrs. in the afternoon on NYA, but decided that I had better secure more data for my English theme.  You see, I came to college to study, and become educated; and so, of course, that is the primary objective and “first things must come first.”  Mr. Tanner and I had quite a little chat about Evolution, and general Science and Religion.  He is very broadminded.

[LJAD, December 4,  1935]


Arose early enough to make it to breakfast.  Spent most of my time preparing a term research paper for English.  My subject is “Fascism in Italy.”  Went to church, but must admit that I was greatly disappointed in it.  The program was given by Ridenbaugh Hall & the one & only speaker, Ralph Jensen, spoke to us on “National Parks.”  Think of it!  We go to church to hear about God, Christ, religion & Mormonism, not to hear the same old lectures we hear every day in school on such unimportant (so far as man’s destiny is concerned) subjects like “National Parks.”

[LJAD, December 6-December 8,  1935]

DECEMBER 17–$.10

Took a difficult Chem quiz for a slide this A.M.  This evening in Religious Class I received my second major upset of the year—at least puzzlement.  It was this dilemma out of which I cannot squeeze.  We say that God is All Powerful, and All-Good.  Therefore, if he is all-powerful, He can control all of nature.  Then, if He is all good, why are there earthquakes, famines, etc., in which millions are killed?  Can He be a good God by doing things like that?  It seems to me that this is an inevitable conflict.  It bears more thought & study.

[LJAD, December 17,  1935]

110 Montague St.

Brooklyn, N. Y.

Jan. 10, 1936

Dear Leonard—

We received your letter some time ago and neglected to answer soon but now Earl is in Brooklyn Hospital, following an acute attack of appendicitis, for which he was operated on last Saturday, Jan.4.  He is getting along quite well and expects to be home in another week.

Earl says to tell you your note reminded him of 20 years ago when he was taking a similar step in the University.  Don’t worry too much at present about the themes you are confronted with.  Your attitude is wholesome.  In the present learn all you can about all the themes and eventually you will have a body of knowledge by which you can criticize all them and either accept or reject the parts, which your knowledge and experience dictates.  If you make any sudden decision now, it would be on the basis of the knowledge and experience of others only, and might not be so satisfactory to you in the log run.  Earl says he finds it useful to adopt a multiple hypothesis in explaining life and nature, letting each theory explain as far as it will, and letting another begin where one fails.

There are theories that agree with your temperament and your wishes and you will eventually find them.  In the last analysis your personality and your temperament is to be considered if you are to have a wholesome outlook on life.  There are books especially written for college beginners to help orientate them in their points of view.  One such was written in the 1920’s (1926) at the University of Chicago with articles by all of the Professors, such as Shailor Matthiesson, Cole, Childs, Moulton, etc.  It is called something like, “The World and the Individual.”  (The Nature of World and of Man)  It summarizes much of the knowledge such as you speak of, by men in the different fields.  If you want other books, you might read William James, “The Will to Believe”, which concerns the freedom of the will.  If you want one on evolution, you might read Fred. J. Pack (U. of Utah) on “Science and Religion”; also John Dewey’s book, “How We Think,” a little book on psychology.  If you want to read a little book on the Mormon community as contrasted with Mormonism as a religion, you might read Prof. E. E. Ericksson’s book on “Psychological and Ethical Aspects of Mormon Group Life.”  You will be able to find other books that are suitable at this time.  You will be able to acquire them from the U. of Utah or U. of Chicago, by means of the University inter-library loans.

Do not trouble yourself too much about those themes at present.  After you build up a body of knowledge and experience at the university you will be able to assimilate what are beneficial and useful, and add to your present foundation.  If you accept them without any personal basis it might destroy your usefulness as well as your personality.

Leonard, Earl has been thinking aloud and I have been writing it down for  him.  I see him every evening here at the hospital, and sometimes come in at noon.  We are glad to hear about Woodrow.  Give our regards to him and his bride, and tell them we would like to hear from them occasionally.  Also remember us to the families where you may write.  And let us hear from you again.  We were happy to have your very fine letter.  We are glad you are enjoying life at the University, and think you will appreciate it more as you go along.

Love to you,


Uncle Earl and Auntie Genieveve

[LJAD, Letter from Mr. & Mrs. J. E. Arrington to Leonard Arrington, January 10,  1936]


LJA Paper for English, U of I, April 22, 1936

I am not the same Leonard Arrington I used to be.  I can now make that statement with fairness both to my former self and to my present self.  It would be well to compare these two selves at this stage of my college career—the Leonard Arrington that left his hopeful parents for college, and the Leonard Arrington that will go back home for the first time this June after almost a year of college influence and training.

Taking stock of these two different persons, I find that there are differences physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Physically, there is a difference, although this difference is not very great.  When I came to college I was quite thin from a hard summer’s work, but as my name indicates, I was “strong as a lion.”  I could do fourteen hours of hard physical work each day and feel no ill effects.  I was in excellent condition.  But today, I am far different.  I could not even lift a 150-pound sack of beans in spite of the fact that I have had twelve hours of work every week I have been here.  My shoulders have become less broad and stout.  My arms and legs are weak.  I am full and flabby.  Yes., there is considerable difference physically between the Arrington that came to college ;and the Arrington that is about to leave for home.

Mentally, there is much more difference.  Before I left for college I did not know how to read, study, or take notes.  I was not able to concentrate.  I was not able to complete more than one lesson each evening, and the examination required little or no preparation.  But I am much different today, I hope.  I have stayed up many nights studying until two or three o’clock.  I learned nine weeks of Zoology classification in six hours one evening.  (This is, of course, no credit of me, but it shows what can be done.)  I can read books in a much shorter time; and better still; I can find the important parts of books and articles easily and glean those parts, which would be for my benefit.  I can take notes quite well and study systematically.  Mentally, I have improved upon the person that came to college.

The greatest change has occurred in my spiritual attitude.  This change may have been for good or for bad—I don’t know.  Many comparisons can be made in the former and present attitude.  One is in toleration.  I used to hate people that smoked tobacco.  Today, some of my best friends smoke.  I used to hate people that drank liquor.  Today, I hate only liquor; I pity the people who drink it.  I used to think that every statement in the Bible was inspired and faultless.  Today, I recognize that certain statements were not even claimed to be true by the authors, that certain statements conflict with others, and that many were not by any means meant for us.  I used to think that all of the other churches were wrong and that only mine was right.  Having visited other churches, and having become acquainted with people of other denominations, I realize that there is good and bad in every religion but mostly good in all of them.  These are only a few of the many changes that have taken place bringing about more toleration.

The major change has come about through my acceptance of much of the teachings of science in preference to some of the doctrines of fundamentalists.  I now accept the main outlines of the theories of evolution and behaviorism, both of which I formerly violently opposed.

But in making comparisons between my present self and my former self, I must acknowledge that in one respect there has been very little change in my practices—that is in my morals.  I still do not smoke or chew tobacco, drink liquor, nor drink tea or coffee.  I have not committed immorality, or any major crime.  I still do not cheat in classes except in military instruction, which everybody else does; and I still pray for God to bless my parents and grandparents.

In this comparison, then, one can see that I have changed physically, mentally, and spiritually; but that I am the same morally.  May the change that has taken place be for the better!  May it help me to become a better citizen!

[LJAD Paper by LJA for English, U of I, April 22, 1936]

The last type of ideas and opinions which college has helped me to tolerate is that of religion.  I imagine that the greatest intolerances we have arise over religion.  I suppose that religious intolerance has caused more persecution than any other thing.  If faith and belief in a certain principle has caused people to lead straighter lives morally, it has also caused these same people to commit crimes and acts of violence upon those who disagree with them worthy only of Satan himself.  Surely, if college can do away with religious intolerance it has served a noble cause.

Religious ideas are ingrained right into the character and life of a person.  It is said that one’s life is his religion.  If this is so, all of his ideas are his religion.  I shall try to limit my examples to those ideas more generally classed under religion—ideas of God, immortality, my church, and its doctrines.

I believe in God; I have always believed in God.  But is it necessary to shoot a person that does not believe in God?  Is it even necessary to hate him:  Is it even necessary to hate him if he tries to convince others that he is right the same as I am trying to convince others that I am right by saying that God lives:  The logic is clear, but where does college come in?

My mother once told me that my uncle was an agnostic.  To her, he was the most despicable character that “ever trod shoe-leather.”  She was glad he lived back East where he could not associate with us children.  I grew up believing her and came to college.  I learned that my first roommate was to be an agnostic.  What a thought!  I was to room with one who would go to hell!  But when I saw him I found that he was built the same as I:  he did not even have horns or a forked tail!  I grew to like him—I liked an agnostic!  Today I possess the same ideas of God that I possessed when I came to college, but I no longer hate those who disagree.  I respect them.  I tolerate them.

This same thought may illustrate the change in my religious attitude with regard to immortality, my church, and its doctrines.  I still believe them, but I no longer hate those who disagree; I respect and tolerate those persons.  Most of all, I tolerate and respect the ideas and opinions which these people possess.  That is what counts.

Therefore, the tolerance of an intelligent student attending the university will be increased for different customs and habits, different types of people, and different ideas.

Perhaps one may gather from reading this paper that a student comes to respect the new and radical and has disrespect for the old-fashioned, the conservative, and the fundamental truths and institutions of society.  I hope this is not so.  This paper on tolerance will have been in vain if it has revealed a loss of tolerance for the folks and the home community.  That would be hypocrisy.  As a matter of fact, college has increased my respect and devotion for my mother and father and the “gold old folks back home.”  I can understand them now.  I can see that they have reared me the best possible way.  I can see that with the few years of schooling they had, they have succeeded much better than I could have done under the same circumstances, or indeed will be able to do even with the great opportunities which I have before me now.

[LJAD, paper by LJA for English 4, U of I, “THE INFLUENCE OF COLLEGE UPON TOLERANCE”, May 23, 1936]

One final story about missionaries.  My father was a missionary in the South, and one afternoon he attended a service for colored people.  According to his story, they had a kind of testimony meeting, and various members of the congregation made their confessions.  He was most attracted to one older brother who, with great feeling, delivered the following testimony:

“Brothers and Sisters, you knows and Ah knows dat Ah aint been what Ah oughter been.  Ah’s robbed hen roosts and stole hawgs and tole lies and got drunk and slashed folks wid mah razer and shot craps and cussed and swore, but Ah thank de Lawd ders one thing Ah aint nebber done, Ah aint nebber lost my religion.”

[LJAD, July 1937]

I know of a Chaplain who, when shells & bullets were raining all over would walk around the men, lighting cigarettes, cheering them up, etc.  That takes infinitely more courage than those actually with guns & fighting equipment.  The chaplain would say prayers for those killed during the day; & on Sundays would set up a field alter & lead the men in singing & prayers.  He’d say, “Yes, I know you want to go to town & raise hell, when this is over.  And I don’t blame you.  But I want you to take out just 5 minutes every day to thank the Lord that the shells & bullets have passed you by, that you have been spared and to pray for the loved ones of your comrades who have gone on.”  I have talked to men who were under fire—heavy fire, when large numbers were killed.  They confirm Gen. MacArthur’s statement, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  In the foxholes & slit trenches, during the time of waiting, they read Testaments & repeat prayers from prayer books.  They even get so anxious for them that they’ll fight with their buddies to be “Next” to get the Testament or prayer book.  I don’t want you to misunderstand what I am saying, for I am not trying to show that a man gets converted at the front.  All I’m saying is that when men are under fire, they clutch at their gun & their God.  That is all they can rely on.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday September 26, 1943, somewhere in N. Africa]

? a Sunday School service: Opening Prayer, song (Do What is Right), and Sacrament (song, O Thou Kind & Gracious Father),  2 short talks on Baptism and Chastity by members, and a lesson on Repentance by a Captain.  A 1st Lieutenant played the little portable organ, and another Lieutenant and I administered to the Sacrament.  The Captain’s lesson was not at all inspiring—very orthodox & simple like a kindergarten catechism, but he had the highest rank & was the oldest, so it was natural to look to him to teach.  We sang “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” & closed with prayer.

In a way the visit made me feel proud of our Church, that on their own initiative they should give up part of their spare time for recreation to go to town & go to Church; and prepare lessons, talks, & make other arrangements.  The Church seems to have done a wonderful job with its young people.  They do not wait for the Church or the Army to furnish a Chaplain or materials.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, October 25, 1943]

For some time, as you know, I’ve been thinking about our church and the contribution it has to make to our country.  If you won’t mind my talking with you about it for a while, I’ll take up some of the things.

The most important thing the Church has to offer is a positive and practical youth program.  No church of the same size in the world has been able to keep such a large percentage of its young people active as our Church.  It’s true that hardly any Catholic young people ever leave that church and join another, but they don’t remain active to the same extent.  They go to mass every now and then and that’s about all.  Some go to catholic schools and some study to be priests or go to monasteries, but they are only a small proportion of all Catholic young people.  Just as an illustration, about 15 fellows in our Platoon are Catholic and only one of them ever goes to mass.

Our Church has been able to keep its young people active and fairly religious because:

1.  Everything is based on the family unit in which everyone in the family from baby to Grandpa has a status n the church.  There is a Sunday School class and activity for every one of every age.  21/2 minute talks are not given by a paid minister, but by all ages, under a system of rotation, young boys pass the Sacrament, older ones usher, still older ones administer the Sacrament, and so on.

There is a Mutual class and activity for every age.  One begins to go to Mutual when he is 10 and goes the rest of his life.  Every age group has lessons of its own and activities suitable to that age.  Even the dances which are sponsored by Mutual are expected to be attended by the whole family.  By continually emphasizing the family unit, every person in the family tends to go places and do things together.  All go to Sunday School.  All go to Mutual.  All go to picnics and dances and entertainments.  And this doesn’t prevent each special age group having their own private activities.

2.  The Church from the infant on up teaches that the best way to learn is by doing.  Religion is not something for sad old ladies.  It is not something that can be acquired sitting in a pew listening to a minister.  It is not even obtained by frequent reading of the Bible.  Religion is most living and working together in peace and harmony and happiness.  It is the expansion of power and understanding.  It is the development of the higher traits of the individual personality.  All of these are the result of people working together.  Once cannot be religious if he lives and works with others who are not; that is, he can’t progress in a religious way if this is true.  True religion is a society of happy souls all directing their thoughts upward toward God.

Consequently, religion is not something passive, nor something passively acquired.  It is meaningless if it is developed outside the hustle and bustle of everyday life.   Religion is the way you work and play.  Religion is worshipping God in the field, in the workshop, on a city street, on a baseball diamond, and in a theater. 

If any activity is divorced from its standing as one in which God is worshipped, then there will be that much of an opportunity for irreligion and corruption and unhappiness to creep into the world.  If business is divorced from worship there will be greediness and selfishness and fraud, etc.

What I’m getting around to is that if young people are brought up in such a way that every activity is regarded as connected with their religion in a definite way, they will live and work together with a minimum of friction.  So the church regards every department of human welfare under its sphere of influence.  If you go swimming, dance, play baseball, if you work as a cowpuncher, farmer, or businessman; if you study in school; if you marry, die, have a child; if you get into health trouble or legal trouble—if you do any of these things, or anything else, the church is interested that it is done according to the laws of God.  As I have told you before, the church is a great mother, who looks after us in every way.

The church believes in seeing that young people are provided with activities to keep them busy and keep their minds from getting into mischief.  Why go to a public dance hall when Mutual has such nice ones, which are free?  Why chase around with that crowd which doesn’t understand or appreciate my feelings when I can chase around with a nice church crowd and feel at home?  The church teaches them religion by making them study it to give talks, give lessons, go on a mission, take charge of classes.  They learn to work together by going ward teaching, working on the church farm, helping build chapels and tabernacles, sponsor programs and entertainments.  They learn to play together by Sunday School parties, Mutual games, and parties, etc.  The Word of Wisdom teaches health; genealogical work teaches reverence for parents, family and blood, In everything, the emphasis is on doing and doing together.

In addition to its wonderful Youth Program, the church has other contributions to make to our society.  One of them is its Americanism.  It is the first major religion (it is 8th largest in the country) to be started in America by an American with American ideas.  Whereas other religions continue to look only to the Old World for their inspiration, since the Bible and their religious thought originated there; Mormonism looks as well to America.  We have the Book of Mormon, which is the Bible of the American Indians.  We have the early revelations and struggles of the church, which are similar to those of the early saints of the Catholic Church.  We have the idea that America is the land of promise.  We have the idea of religious toleration, divinity of the constitution, the democratic management of the church.  The early American ideas of cooperation, agricultural communism and the brotherhood of man are all part and parcel.  The idea that Christ may have visited America, as well as Palestine also helps to spiritualize our country.  The only group of people who are conscientiously trying to uncover the mysteries of the Aztec, Mayan, and Zoltec civilizations in early America are L.D.S.  This is the result of the Book of Mormon influence.  

The third contribution is the Church Welfare Plan, which offers a suggestion as to the way out of the mess of the modern economic and social world.  You know the story and meaning of it as well as I.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, November 14, 1943]

I spent the evening reading thru October Improvement Era.  I always have a funny feeling when I read it: I feel as tho I’m not doing my duty toward it.  I feel as tho it could use some of my talents & training and I want to give of them.  I have felt that way since I first went to Carolina & concluded that I should study & think like the devil.  Then when I grew mature I should really be able to contribute something of real good & lasting benefit.  I have a horror of putting something in just for the sake of having my name & words in it.  For instance, the article on war by Frank H. Jonas & many others.  I know I have an approach, which no other writer for the Era seems to have.  Heretofore, I haven’t had enough confidence in my work.  Now that I do I don’t have the materials about me.  When the war is over there will be ample opportunity for many long fruitful years of writing, teaching, & being with you & our family.  It sounds so far away—dreamy—and yet so close & real.  I get so fidgety sometimes wishing I had something in my field to do.  I know that I can do a lot in practical economics from my experience in OPA & I just wish the Army would give me a chance.  I’d work my fool head off just as I did in OPA, for I love to do that kind of work.  Maybe a chance will come soon, for the Army is reclassifying many men.  If I could just find the right person!  Sometimes I feel like writing Pres. Wallace.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, February 25, 1944]

Feb. 26, 1944—Sat.

My Darling Sweetheart,

After the fellows came in last nite they chose to do some reading.  I read thru the November issue of the Era, enjoying it a great deal, much more than the October issue.  Many of the sermons were dull & full of platitudes & unoriginality but there were some, which showed deep understanding, faith & knowledge.  If you have this issue, I think you would be interested, as I was, in the following speeches & articles.

1) Summary of Welfare Plan, p.  655

2) The Home Front, pp 656-7, 704

3) Assignment to Youth, p 667 & 716

4) Education p. 674 & 714

5) Wells of Living Water p. 675 & 720.  I think this is the only real sermon of the whole lot &I it is deeply moving.  It shows Apostle Lee (who is from Idaho) has thought a great deal & has deep sympathies & understanding.  Don’t you think so?

Of all the books advertised in the October & November issues, I don’t think we need any of them for our library except Evidences & Reconciliations by John A. Widstoe, which, I think, you have already gotten.

As I wrote you last nite, I can’t help but feel that articles of my approach are very much needed in the Era & would be a contribution to its usefulness & popularity.  It will be a great day & we will be, oh, so happy when we begin our lives together, loving one another fiercely, & working for the ideals we’ve spoken & written about.  Right now I feel like a champion racehorse kept boxed in a stall all season.  My time to run will come after the war, tho, & I’ll have you for my jockey, inspiration  & everything else.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, February 26, 1944]

Between and after work I was able to sandwich in enough time to read in Undercover up to p. 400.  I was especially interested in the chapter on Mormon City where he described his visit with Fascists in Salt Lake City.  Just to find out whether they represented the consensus of all LDS people, he visited one of the Salt Lake wards.  His description & comments were very favorable to the Church & he says he left Salt Lake with his confidence in LDS unimpaired.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, March 9, 1944]

You mentioned going to Mutual and the discussion about the Spirit of God & the Holy Spirit.  I remember we had similar discussions when I was there.  When you receive Evidences and Reconciliation by John A. Widtsoe, you will find he has a chapter on that very subject.  His is the official Church point of view.  It arises from a literal interpretation of the Bible.  Some passages refer to the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit as a separate entity in the Godhead.  God is one Person, Jesus His son, & the Holy Ghost or Comforter is a third and formless Personage.  This third Being is part of the Holy Trinity of most Protestant, as well as Catholic Churches.  The third Being has never come to Earth & so has no body, parts or passions.  Its purpose is to comfort, make known truth, provide inspiration, and solace—the believing who suffer from pain or doubt.

According to the same official Church view, God is an entirely different Person, tho He works in conjunction with the Holy Spirit.  God’s purpose and objectives and means are many.  He may influence people or events, in which case one can say, His spirit (the Spirit of God) has been manifest.  The Spirit of God can enter individuals, inspire them & influence them, just as the Spirit of Jesus or indeed, of Abraham Lincoln, can make itself felt for good.  

I don’t know whether that means anything but it is the official Church view and is supported, they think, by several Scriptural passages.

As you may presume, my point of view is not at one with the above.  I criticize the above for the following reasons:

(1)  A big mistake is always made when one attempts to interpret the Scriptures literally and build a theology on such air, interpretation.  The Scriptures are contradictory, and inconsistent & any theology based upon them cannot help but be inconsistent & illogical.  The only support for the Church’s point of view is Scripture.  If a person doesn’t happen to believe in the Bible literally (and nearly everybody doesn’t) the Church’s view seems unreasonable and peculiar.

It comes back to the fact that people must use their reason as well as their faith.  No faith is useful or lasting unless it is based upon the most mature thought of which an individual is capable.  Our reasonings would not lead us to believe in a Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.  Personally I don’t believe in it, nor the Holy Trinity.  I believe in God, the Father and His Son, Jesus, and I believe they have a Spirit which works good among people, but that Spirit is not a separate being apart from the Father & Son.  

Did I help you or only confuse you more?

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, March 16, 1944]

March 21, 1944—Monday

My Darling Wife:

It is ten o’clock.  Sgt. Williams and I have just come from the movie, “Song of Bernadette.”  If you have seen it, you know how deeply it must have affected us.  If you have read the Omnibook condensation, which I sent to you, you can still sense some of the feeling that enters one’s heart.  The story of Bernadette is enough to bring unbelievers to doubt, and doubters to belief.  Just what the meaning of her life is, I don’t know.  It is the same with the life of many other men and women who have claimed having seen and received messages from Divine Personages.  Most of them turn out to be insane fanatics or deceivers.  Now and then, however a case appears in which the person is perfectly normal and intelligent, and yet the sincerity and honesty of the person and the effect on his or her life lead those around him or her to believe also.

There is first of all the case of Jesus, Himself.  Was He Divine, as He claimed to be?  Admitting that much of the New Testament was invented during and after his life, is there still not enough of the Divine, miraculous and wonderful about Him to believe He was truly the Son of God?  

There is the story of Paul and his conversion; of St. Francis; Joan of Arc; Abraham Lincoln; Joseph Smith—and many, many others.  I should think you would enjoy reading a novel of the life of Joan of Arc.  Perhaps you can find one.  She was a most heroic woman, and yet simple, sincere and unaffected.  

The problem arises from the necessity of deciding which are genuine and which are illusions and frauds.  This is not only a problem for a psychiatrist, but for a philosophic and understanding mind.  There are so many questions that can be answered only by the use of Reason.  Even faith contains a large element of Reason.  Our faith must not be blind; it must be guided by Reason.  That is why God endowed us with a mind as well as a will and a conscience.  So that the faith of a people will not become intolerant, bigoted and superstitious, it is necessary to develop and encourage reason, thought, and understanding.

Religion is a matter of sentiment and feeling.  But it is also a matter of thought and contemplation.  Finally it is a matter of activity—daily tasks, work, effort, and action.  For these three purposes God has given us a Heart, mind and body.

As I mentioned to you in a letter a few days ago, the problem of religion in the Army has disturbed and perplexed me.  I wish I could have been assigned as a Chaplain’s assistant for my heart would be in the work, and I might be able to contribute something.  Since it appears that economists are useless, perhaps my training fits me for some such capacity as a Chaplain’s Assistant.  Signs and posters all over America show Uncle Sam pointing his finger saying, “I need you,” and yet it appears he doesn’t.  Don’t think I’m cynical, darling, for I am not.  I know Uncle Sam will need both of us in the Post-war world, and it is to that I’m looking forward.  Whenever I feel impatient, I remember that we have so much to which to look forward.  I have so much to write and say in the next 30 years of my life—and so much love to give to you.  Our future means everything to me, as I know it does to you, and I want you to know and believe that I shall never knowingly do anything to jeopardize our future together.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, March 21, 1944]

28 May, 1944    Sunday

Darling Grace,

Today has been our day, that is, all except the last few years.

This morning I got up early, had a good breakfast of hot cake & home made syrup, shaved, got a pass, & went to town.  I got there just in time for LDS Sunday School services, which began at 9:30 in the Classical Music Room of the Red Cross.  It had rained heavily last nite & this morning.  So there was not as large an attendance as usual.  However there were fifteen there—all soldiers, no sailors or Waccs.  Two Captains, a 1st Lt., & enlisted men of every grade.  They were from many different parts of the States, tho mostly from the mountain states.  They made me feel right at home & I had some good old hearty missionary handshakes.

In the room in which we met there was a little organ, which one of them played.  The sacrament bread & water trays were made out of airplane aluminum by one of the members & they were about as good as one would use in the States.

The S.S. service was exactly as those we used to have except song practice was omitted.  The S.S. lesson was taught by a fellow named Nash from Vernal, Utah & it was the same one being t aught currently in Adult classes all over the Church.  He was pretty orthodox, but not blind or narrow about it.  I went to a movie with him in the afternoon & afterward had some ice cream & sandwiches & a stroll thru the park & found him to be a typical young stalwart Mormon: doesn’t mind cussing now & then; loves a good pair of legs; obeys faithfully the Word of Wisdom; has a lot of pride in himself & his Church; likes to give his ideas; & has the one aim of settling down in the West with a wife & kids.  Has a year of college & would like to go back for more (and needs more) but probably never will.

The 2 5 minute talks were also pretty orthodox.  It is only after attending to that service & listening to them that I discovered just how far I have traveled since I went to high school in Twin Falls.  Up to that time I undoubtedly had the same opinions, hopes, & ideals.  If I were honest with them about how I feel, they wouldn’t own me.  I just wonder how many of the young LDS would agree with me—would think I had the right approach—would want me to teach their children?  Probably not very many.  But the LDS desire for education & learning is so strong that I think they will accept me & let me teach them in spite of some of my “radicalism”.

At 7 in the evening we had Sacrament meeting.  Nash & another fellow gave the speeches.  Both interesting & intelligent, &, again, quite orthodox.  One talked on Joseph Smith’s ideas of God.  He called him Smith—Smith this and Smith that—which seemed a little strange, & I doubt if that would go back home.  The other one gave a rambling talk on living a righteous life.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 28 May 1944]

After Church I hunted up our truck & came back to camp with the boys.  And what a change from the fellows I had been with all day.  I didn’t realize how really fine our LDS fellows are.  To get back amongst a bunch of drunks: such language, such indecencies & disgusting acts.  Puking all over, falling all over, hollering such indecencies at women along the way, etc.  Oh, they’re all right & I get along fine, but it’s like Sgt. Williams said, “Watching this crowd is enough to make any man swear off of drink for life.”  It makes me even more proud of the Church & its teachings & the will power of the young fellows in our church.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 28 May 1944]

Got up early this morning & shaved before breakfast.  Then I got a pass & came to town with Sgt. Williams.  He went to the Protestant services & I went to the LDS.  

It was the first Sunday of the month so they had Sacrament & then testimonies.  I found out that LDS services are now being held in Palermo, Sicily, Naples & Foggia in Italy & in Sardinia.  In Sardinia the fellows pooled together their cigarette rations & bought a chapel in which they are now meeting.                                       

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 4 June 1944]

I am so proud that we can trust each other & be so confident.  I’m glad that you have been to the MIA dances.  I’m so proud of you for every point of view you have.  You doubtless know—you have brought me over to your realistic viewpoints.  Of course, I shall always talk much of being what I should be.  That’s because of my background.  I doubt if I shall ever take another drink of anything but maybe some wine or brandy for Thanksgiving.  I know I’ll never take a drink of any kind away from you.  I know you regard that as a weakness, feeling that moderate drinking is better.  But I can’t help it.  I did try out a sip of this & that when we first came over, just to see what they tasted like, but I haven’t taken any since about October, & won’t until I’m with you; if at all.  I have gotten so disgusted with drunks & drunkenness that I just don’t want to touch the stuff.  I don’t say that I blame them.  I feel sorry for them that they don’t have anything better to fill their spare time.  When I teach I want to try to instill some cultural habits into the students so they’ll have uplifting ways to spend their leisure.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, 25 June 1944]

Well, since my mind seek primarily to bring order out of chaos, I had to try to harmonize all of the conflicting systems of thought, which presented themselves before me, into some kind of consistency.  Truth is measured (1) by inner logical consistency (2) by its consequences.  I had to get a philosophy of life, which could harmonize (1) my background, which was in a more or less primitive agricultural background where the prime virtues were industry, honesty, humility, sincerity.  You couldn’t say or do or think anything high-falutin!  Farming was a religion, for anyone who left the farm to go to a city was irreligious.  The city was a wicked place.  The farm was where God wanted us to stay.  The ideas and early impressions I got on the farm, no matter how far I might get from them, would always remain indelibly impressed upon my character and personality.  So if I was to formulate a philosophy of life which harmonized with my character and personality (and that would inevitably be necessary, else a disintegration would take place) then I would have to integrate it with my background.  And that is where pragmatism came in.  On a farm, a farmer has so many variables to work with that he always hunts for an absolute.  Invariably he will find that absolute—not about him (like the city atheist who looks to nature as his God—to the farmer, nature grows his crops but she is capricious—not benevolent, so she is not the absolute he is looking for), but in the heavens.  Joseph Smith’s religion was developed in a pioneering, rural area:  rural people were attracted to it; today the most successful missions are in rural areas and in agricultural countries and peoples—Hawaii, etc.  So the God was of that type.  But although his occupation causes him to seek for an absolute in the heavens, the variability of ways he can do things causes him to have—as far as secular matters go—a very pragmatic philosophy—a relative, earnest, truth-seeking attitude, but which is skeptical of any thing that is supposed to work all the time, or always be true.  So he is a pragmatist—not looking for an end, which is teleological, but for one which is just ahead.  Nor does he rely too much on authoritarianism, although he is skeptical of anything new.  Hr wants to be pretty certain before he abandons his trusted past methods.  Like the measuring worm, which didn’t let go of the rock till it, could get definitely established on the sapling.

Yes, my philosophy, had to be a Pragmatic one—one similar to William James.  I could not accept solipsism because (The Summing Up).  Nor could I accept Materialism—nor could I not work out any philosophy at all and just drift because my mind seeks order.  Nor Spinoza’s.  And so Pragmatism was the philosophy.  Now, what is to be, in accord with that, my religious philosophy? my political philosophy? my economic philosophy? my moral philosophy—conduct?  And how do these harmonize and how do they tie up with my past and my future?

It has seemed to me that religion should be primarily connected with conduct.  The highest religion should consist of living “The Good Life.”  The most religious person is he who seeks after truth and beauty and goodness.  Religious persons are not those who belong to this Church or that Church.  Nor should it be associated with professed beliefs—such as the five elements of Fundamentalism.  And yet simply to live a good life would not insure a truly religious person.  There is something more to religion than merely good conduct (whatever that is), one must admit it is a relative matter.  Religion means the addition of love of God to one’s experience.  That is, before one can be truly religious, he must have had one or a series of religious experiences.  The truly religious person does more than look at things.  He sees! —Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith etc.  Something great and good and fine comes into his life, which quiets his soul and gives him his life’s destiny or work.  Once this experience comes into a man’s life he never forgets it; it always stays with him.  Though he may act just as any other person—outwardly, yet when one begins to know his inner soul, there is something ennobling about it.  Something contenting.  Now this religious person may never go into a church.  But his conduct is that of a noble—an aristocrat of blood, not money.  But churches are a justifiable institution largely because they are made up for the most part of people who have had this experience and who desire to associate together.  Only those churches decay when it becomes an institutionalized and not a living organism:  where the minister preaches because that is an easy way of making a living; when the people attend to be seen—to show off their new clothes, to find a husband.  Those churches thrive best who attempt to duplicate each Sunday in each person, his religious experience:  to renew it and make it stronger.  They may do this on a purely esthetic level—Catholic—on a purely scientific way—humanists—or in a more primitive emotional manner such as Billy Sunday and the old missionary preachers.  A person should get his soul, his covenant renewed, and strengthened on Sunday so that he can project this religious self all week and not allow it to disintegrate or degenerate.  That is why all churches are right—whatever the creed.  And that is why some groups in every creed are wrong—because they are not legitimate.  They falsify hypocritically the true experience.  And that is why prayer is a necessary part of any religious creed, for it does every day what the Church tries to do each Sunday—it enables communion or contact with one’s God or idea at all times.  And since one has been in contact with that ideal before (the great religious experience) then there is no reason to suppose that that contact cannot be effected any more, though one recognizes that its importance is not nearly so great at this one big experience (because the effect on the person himself is not so startling—he is getting used to it, calloused to it, he tries to ritualize it, he does not come so naively and innocently as before—he comes knowingly—like a Xmas experience to one who knows there is not a Santa Claus and yet Xmas is an experience wherein  he tries to duplicate the tremendous joy he once got out of it.  He does so partly through his children; just as those who’ve had legitimate religious experiences early in their lives live largely to see their children receive the same happiness as they.  And if the child, thru willfulness or too much love by the parent, does not receive this experience, to the parent they might as well be in hell.  In fact they are in hell, for one who does not see the “light” the parent sees is in hell necessarily.

Now good conduct is an accompaniment of this true religion, but it is an incidental thing.  Rather, one should say, to the person, it is an automatic thing, for one does not have to deliberate what one should do in this case or the other.  That is a matter of principle which as necessarily been given at the time of the first legitimate religious experience.  One may have temporary doubts later (Lois in LA) but they do not affect one, and they are rationalized away in some way.  The conduct of truly religious persons may thus be very different.  Some, for instance, may have their conduct crystallized for them in a primitive rural area, (Mr. Annis), and others in city areas (Communists); others in intellectual life, etc.  So that conduct becomes a relative matter and each conduct is good in so far as the highest ideal or God of each truly religious person is different—some having a higher ideal than others.  Now it is indeed possible, I suppose, to step up the conduct of persons, but only unconsciously.  Actually I doubt if it is possible to change this fundamental religious philosophy (which necessarily underlies all conduct and action).  When people say, “he doesn’t have the right spirit,” “he isn’t a ‘good man’,” etc., they are thinking unconsciously of the fact that they recognize that he has not had a true religious experience.  But if an intellectual has had a religious experience—let us say thru art or music, then he will be respected and recognized by a very primitive fellow who also has “seen the light.”  Look about you among your friends.  You can detect quite easily the fakes and the real, true honest souls.

The only true atheist is he who hasn’t had this experience.  Now here are, it is true, conflicts—violent conflicts—between different groups of persons, both of whose constituents have true religion—mind you, not conflicts between individuals but between groups—like the crusades—like the Mormons.  The difficulty comes when one group feels that the other is treading upon sacred ground, is desolating sacred ground—is destroying that sacred inner strength which they hope for their children; it is a conflict of the different stages each has conceived his true religion—maturity, etc.  But the conflict will continue—the Mohamedan or Mormon will fight to the death rather than compromise, for one cannot compromise his inner vision—Christ had to be crucified because he dare not betray his soul, for Him it was as real as anything and the same with many whom we call religious fanatics.

Now it is primarily this explanation of my view of religion, which betrays that my philosophy of life cannot be a rationalistic one.  I do not believe that everything can be solved by thought, by reason.  There is a legitimate and necessary experience called feeling.  There are psychologists (Mechanists) who would maintain that one who is subjected to violent outbursts of feeling:  Wagner, Shelley, Byron, Beethoven etc., was a case for psychoanalysis.  That they are immature and the process of acquiring maturity is one of gradually putting reason over feeling or emotionalism.  But this to me does not seem to be quite true.  There is as much reason physiologically and logically and empirically, for one type of experience as the other.  One can get as good an understanding of Finland from listening to Finlandia as one can get from scores of dry technical treatises.  Similarly, one can learn as much about the sea from Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner” as technical treatises or actual experience.  A mountain is not just so many rocks and a certain weight, height, etc.  It is something more which one can feel and admire.  I have always loved music because it seemed to teach me so much about life.  I can learn as much about truth and beauty and goodness from poetry or music or painting or sculpture as I can from thinking, reading, or reasoning.  

This all ties in with my idea of religion as a experience, not rationally explainable or defensible but legitimate nevertheless, and certainly if one is to judge by and large the results it produces, it is certainly not a bad thing.  Religion is not a rational experience.  Scientists are correct.  If one takes reason as the final good, the goddess, the religion is unnecessary and a lot of “bosh.”  But I submit that reason cannot explain all experience.  Feeling does have a place, and a religious experience comes when for the first time one feels himself in contact with eternity, with eternal values, with the high values which are not within the realm of his every day experience by are only within the realization of his feeling or spirit or soul or conscience.  One illustration of how the Christian experience is had is from my letter from Nicodemus to Johannah.

[LJAD, Written by LJA, circa July 1944]

We got our PX rations today: each person got an extra coca cola bottle.  Since I don’t drink any of my cokes, I’ll trade them for juice.  

[LJAD, V-Mail to Grace, Tuesday, 4 July 1944]

There is little, if anything in the life of a soldier to make him think about religion & this Church.  Yet he ought to think a little about it every day, or else he will never feel comfortable when he returns to the society of women & men who have a church & practice a religion.  The women he knows here have no religion.  A few superstitions, of course, but little more.  

Most Italian & French Catholics are poor, ignorant & superstitious.  They believe in Saints, Miracles, Relics, & that it is better for the Church to act as their conscience.  This last is the real purpose of the confession.  Individuals, so goes the theory, are weak & miserable creatures.  They cannot assume responsibility.  They are too weak to exercise will power.  They need someone stronger than them to serve as their conscience.  The Church & the Priest as representatives of the Church are best suited to be a moral guide to the individual.  The Priest is given a complete code of ruses in his training so that he can instruct his people.  This code of rules & advice is the result of almost 2,000 years of experience in dealing with human beings.  The individual is taught to revere his Priest & the Authority he represents above everything else.  In all things he must do as the Priest does.  The Priest, theoretically at least, is a dictator of the souls of his parishioners.

In the confession the Priest gives detailed instructions.  For example, there are right & wrong things to do on Sunday.  There are right & wrong ways of sexual intercourse.  There is even a way prescribed for intercourse when the woman is pregnant.  Or so at least an Italian Lt. told me whose brother is a Priest in Italy.  Prescriptions are made about one’s behavior after the death of a husband, wife & mother.  It was against this tyranny exercised by the Catholic hierarchy over their conscience that led most of the intellectuals of the late Middle Ages to support the Protestant Reformation.

Each Catholic (I’m speaking of French & Italian Catholics) usually has a certain personal Saint, which he adopts while young, & reveres during his life.  I know a fellow’s wife whose patron Saint is St. Francis.  When she was young she became very ill & the Doctors said she would die.  So her mother prayed to St. Francis & told him that if he would intercede plead with Jesus to save her & she lived then she would pray to him every nite in gratitude & would have her daughter dress like him until she was of age.  So the girl lived & from then on St. Francis was her patron Saint.  She prays to St. Francis every nite.  Once a year, on a memorial event in St. Francis’ life, a parade is held in the city in honor of St. Francis.  A large statue of him covered by a costly robe, is carried down the street, led by the Priest & followed by devoted parishioners.  On that day these people may wear little holy medals or cards showing scenes in the life of St. Francis.  In some cities in Italy & France they may have some relic (or supposed relic) of this Saint like a lock of hair, a bead from his rosary, a piece of his garment, or a tooth.  This relic has miraculous powers & has no doubt healed the sick, raised from the dead, etc.  It is our habit to honor those we love & worship in some material way.  During this parade in honor of St. Francis women will run out in front of the statue, make the sign of the cross, & pin a $5.00 bill on the cloak on St. Francis’ statue.  A band accompanies this parade.  There is one custom observed by these people with which I disagree very much & hope you do too.  When a woman’s husband dies, she goes around in black for a whole year & sometimes for a lifetime.  Black hat, black veil, black dress, black stockings, black shoes, black gloves, black everything.

We laugh at the ancient Assyrians who, when a Gentleman died, buried his wife, servants, animals & possessions with him.  Well, the practice of requiring a wife to wear black as they do here is almost as bad as burying her with her husband.  She can have no personality, no individuality, no life or excitement.  She is a shell of her former self & she might as well be dead.  I trust you don’t believe in this display of grief.  For example, if my mother should die, I know she would wish me to carry on the same as before—laughing, playing, teaching, arguing.  A part of her personality will live on in me.  But, if I grieve & mourn then all the gayety & enthusiasm she taught me will die.  Nothing of her personality would be left alive.  It is natural for people to weep, but after they have wept they must take hold of themselves & carry on in their work, for by their good work & by making others happy they can do the greatest honor to the dead.

Now why should I ever get into a subject like that?  Goodness knows I enjoy life too much to think about death.  And I know you do, too, so I‘m not afraid to write things like this that might come into my mind.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 25 August 1944]

The two fellows I talked with were both brought up by Catholic parents & went to Catholic schools.  Neither of them believes in it now, so they were telling me all about Catholicism—as it worked out in practice where they were raised.  I have known quite a bit about the history & philosophy of Catholicism, but not much about the actual day-to-day practice.  I shall tell you some of the things they told me, so you will know & also for a record.  These experiences relate to large cities in the industrial East.

Purgatory, according to Catholic thought, is the waiting state between earth & heaven.  In purgatory is the judgment.  Souls aren’t released from purgatory to go to Heaven until the Second Coming of Christ.  Well, for the instruction of youngsters, these Catholic schools had the students write annually, a letter to someone they loved who was in purgatory & were urged to put money in the envelopes for the saving of souls in purgatory.  The envelopes were delivered to the Sister (teacher) unsealed.  In private she removed the money & sealed the envelopes.   Next day the letters were burned before the assembled students & the pieces floated thru the sky to the souls in Purgatory.  When I was a youngster we did the same thing with letters we wrote to Santa Claus one Christmas.

Catholics are not allowed to eat meat on Friday.  It happens tho that some fiesta or celebration may come on Friday & many young would like to eat meat.  Altho the practice is not allowed by the Church, these fellows tell me that at such times the Sister or Priest will forgive the youngster for eating meat if they will pay 50¢ or $1.00.

A large percentage of criminals in the Northeast are Italian Catholics.  This is explained in many ways:  the Catholic Church is the largest church, it is hard for Italians to get adjusted to our way of life, etc.  But an additional reason is the Confessional.  The idea of Confession is bred into the young Catholics.  The Priests, in order to encourage honesty & frankness, forgive everything the youngster does with hardly any penance.  The youngster gets the idea that it doesn’t matter what he does so long as he humbles himself & confesses it.  So he forms the habit of doing as he wills & as his companions do, often illegal acts.

The Catholic Church is so large that corruption is bound to occur.  Corruption will alienate many fine people from the Church.  A Priest may take a bribe to find out certain information in Confessional & relay it back to the briber.  A Priest may wrongly ask for names.  A Priest may make himself wealthy from money he collects from the poor.  Priests are known to be big wine drinkers & they are frequently accused of having affairs with nuns, with adulterous wives, & with fascinated & wild young girls.

These fellows also claim that the Catholic Church knowingly & purposely allows superstition & frowns on progressivism of any kind.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 30 August 1944]

P.S. I forgot to mention another accusation made against the Catholic Church.  The Church makes a great point over being the Universal Church—all the world under one Pope, one law, doctrine, etc.  Well, on one corner of a street in New York one will see a tremendous, big, rich Cathedral, on another corner a struggling little poor chapel.  Both are Catholic; both may serve the same number.  But one is rich, the other poor; never the twain shall meet.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 30 August 1944]

I have read carefully what you wrote about our tithing.  You will remember I suggested not paying tithing each month but paying it in a lump sum after we settle down.  I guess I didn’t explain myself very well because you think there was something else in my mind.  I didn’t mention in the letter.  First, let me say that there was nothing else in my mind.  I am always frank with you just as you are with me.  What I had in mind was this:  I do not believe in tithing as a habit any more than I believe in prayer as a habit.  One should pay tithing only when he feels in his heart that the money he plans too give is being used as God would wish it to be used.  One does not answer to the Church for his actions.  One answers only to God.  God is the final judge.  Here I am over here 8,000 miles away from Salt Lake & out of practically all connection with the Church.  I do not know how the money is being spent.  I have no “say” in the Church.  Can I answer to my God that I know my 1/10 is being spent, as He would wish it?  There are thousands of people around here who are actually starving.  Perhaps I should give my tenth over here.  As I said, a man cannot do everything.  All he can hope to do is use his wealth, mind & soul in the furtherance of God’s purposes.  I think it would be better to discontinue paying tithing until we settle in a community.  Then we will know where our money is going & we can help see that it does the most good.

As to the arguments against it I think they can be answered.  First, to an intelligent person it should not be any harder to pay all the tithing at one time than to make it in small monthly payments.  Dad, for example, makes his total tithing settlement every December & may give as high as $500.  Surely an intelligent person can see that $50 per mo. makes a total of $600. per year.  Second, it may be hard to keep from spending it.  However, if we do find it wise to spend the money it simply means we have borrowed on our own future, because we are conscience bound to pay that much tithing sometime before we die.  If we should die before we pay it, we shall leave notice in our will that so much money is to be given to the Church.  You know how determined both of us are.  Well, I for one am determined the money shall go to the Lord’s work sometime—whenever I am there to see it does go for the Lord’s work.  Third, I think it will be just as easy to give it in lump sum as any other way, if we are determined to do it.  And I for one am.

Now, sweet, I wish you would consider this question once more & tell me how you feel.  My suggestion does not apply to you as much as to me because you belong to a local congregation from which you derive profit & in which you participate.  So you should pay a certain amount, if not all your tenth in to them.  As for my tenth, it is a little different.  Just be sure to keep a record on a little notebook.  From time to time I may spend certain amounts over here.  I’ll write you & you can note them down as amounts already spent.  This matter is something that, above all, we should agree upon.  If you still feel, after careful consideration that we should pay my tenth as well as your tenth (because both are our tenth) each month, then go ahead &I do so, just write me giving your reasons & just how you feel about it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 28 September 1944]

I want to tell you of our discussion last night.  There were 4 of us sitting around the table in the orderly room.  Two were on one side of the table, two on the other, and a candle in between.  It is a remarkable coincidence that the four were a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant & a Mormon.  Each of them was brought up strictly in his faith but considers himself, more or less a free thinker, liberal & broadminded.

Therefore he is able to discuss his faith dispassionately.  Well, we talked about each other’s religion & religion in general for over two hours.  Due to the unseasonable interruption of the drunk we didn’t get it finished.  We discussed Judaism & Catholicism more or less in detail but didn’t say much about Protestantism except the reasons for its origin, nor anything about Mormonism except the polygamy question.  I would like to have told them about our social & economic practices and the Book of Mormon.

The Jew has become a very good friend of mine.  He’s from New York, or course, of Polish or Russian Jewish parentage & has one of those unspellable names.  He is young, 21, very smart, & has a well-developed sense of values & conscience.  He is the first Jew, who was proud of being a Jew & not ashamed of it, that I have known & so I‘ve learned a great deal about Judaism from him.  He does not believe in the Christian Epic.  That is, in all the miracles & wonders pertaining to Christ, tho he does think Jesus was a great Jew.  He believes much as the Jews did described in The Apostle who were against Paul.  He believes that Jesus was a good Jew & that all his teachings are derived from Jewish teachings & that everything worthwhile in the Christian message was taken from the Jews.

He does not consider himself an orthodox Jew in belief, but follows Orthodox practices.  In other words he’s the kind of Jew that I am a Mormon.  As you know there is a large-scale movement in America to modernize the Jewish religion.  The result is a cleavage of Jews into two large groups:  Orthodox Jews & Reformed.  They hold different services.  The differences between them are as follows: (1) The reformed Jews do not hold strictly to the dietary laws of the Mosaic Law.  For example, they may eat pork.  (2) Reformed Jews do not wear a hat in service, as the Mosaic Law & Jewish tradition requires.  (3) Reformed Jews hold their service in English instead of in Hebrew.  (4) Reformed Jews do not celebrate as many holidays as Orthodox and those they do celebrate are only about half as long.  Instead of fasting from sundown to sundown, they fast from sundown till noon, etc.

In general the customs & practices of Orthodox Jews are exactly the same as those they have practiced for 3,000 years.  The only modifications are those required by the civil law of countries in which they resided.  For example, Jews do not punish other Jews for infringement of the law by stoning as prescribed in Leviticus & Deuteronomy, for that is taken care of by the civil law in all nations today.

The German Jew generally speaking, is not a true Jew.  The German Jew intermarried for generations and became pretty well Protestant-ized.  That is what makes Jewish persecution in Germany seem so difficult to understand.  German Jews are not Jews; they are Germans.  If Hitler had let them alone, 9/10 of them would have followed him & would have been ardent Nazis.  The reason why he persecuted them is difficult to explain & one fellow, Peter Drucker, son of former Chapel Hill Professor & writer for Fortune took a whole book to explain it.  The End of Economic Man is the title of the book & it received a lot of publicity at the time.  The essence of the Nazi revolution, he said was negativism—being against anything & everything.  The Jews were a group he could attack ? & unite the rest of the people around him.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 30 September 1944]

There are a couple of things I’ve learned that surprised me just a little.  All the time we read & talk of prejudice against the Jews, Jewish persecution, etc.  I thought the shoe was always on one foot.  Now I learn that Orthodox Jews, a large part of them, anyway, have prejudice against Christians.  They call Christians moyem, some word adopted in Germany years ago.  They tell stories about Gentiles, call them names, etc. just as many Gentiles talk abut Jews.  There is very little of this among younger Jews but older ones, I hear, are very prejudiced. One of my Jewish friends admitted this to me.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 7 October 1944]

Let me be frank & tell you some of my pet dislikes:

(1) Name-calling.  It seems to be the failing of many fellows to call a fellow by a bad name when they can’t think of any reason for not liking him.  If a fellow is a Jew & happens to be arguing with another fellow & the other fellow runs out of arguments, then instead of shutting up or admitting he’s wrong he’ll say, “The trouble with you is you’re a Jew.  If you weren’t a Jew, you wouldn’t have that idea.”  Name-calling is the resort of a coward.  He can’t compete with another on equal grounds, so he stabs the other fellow in the back by calling him a name.

(2) Braggarts.  The braggart has a false sense of his own importance.  You can never argue with them or deal with them because they’ll never admit they’re wrong.  They’re always right.  One of the first marks of a truly good & fine man is humility & modesty.  You can always trust him & depend on  him because he never tries to be more than he is.

(3) People who try to cram religion-or any idea down your throat.

(4) Fellows who try to mask behind a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde complex by saying they were drunk when they did so & so, as if that were any excuse.  Why did they get drunk in the first place?  They knew what would happen.  For example, a fellow comes in drunk, says something to a fellow who’s trying to sleep & doesn’t answer.  So the drunk proceeds to grab something & throw at him, tear his covers off, or yell to the top of voice calling him names.  He’s afraid to do anything when he’s sober.  He’s meek & mild; but he’ll try to kill a guy when he’s drunk.  I wouldn’t trust him, sober or drunk.  I must confess a drunk has never messed with me personally except one who tried to fight me.  I just hit him on the head & knocked him cold.  Other than that, I haven’t had any experiences.  But they’ve bothered other fellows while I was C.Q.  I learned how to handle them.  Those who want to fight & cause trouble—just lock them up in a little room all nite & let them sleep it out.  If no room is available, just hit ‘em one with a book or something & let them sleep it off.  They’ll never remember it & you’re doing them a favor by preventing them from causing trouble.  The other kind of drunk—the one that’s a friend to everybody & wants to say hello to everybody & sing & laugh.  Just let his friends take care of him so he won’t bother anybody else.

It’s probably good experience—never have I had to deal with them before.  I used to be afraid of them before, but not anymore.  They’re really weak, helpless children.  All they need is a bit of handling.  Maybe I’ll be a Sergeant yet.

(4) Brave, strong, 100% Christian Americans who are so brave they talk about a fellow behind his back; so brave they pull out a knife to fight with; so brave that they’re always complaining about some ailment so they won’t have to go to the front; so brave that, drunk or sober, they always pick on someone smaller & weaker, & then if he puts up a fight, they’ll gang up on him; so brave that if some fellow or fellows start using the same tactics on him that he uses on other fellows, he runs to the sergeant for help.

(5) Fellows who borrow money to gamble.  If you don’t lend they are insulted.  If, after a reasonable time, they don’t return the money & you ask for it, they’re even more insulted.  If after lending them the money, you demand a dollar or two of their earnings as a fair interest, they’re the most insulted of all.  A man will raise heaven & earth to pay a gambling debt.  He wouldn’t lift a finger to pay the man back from whom he borrowed the money in the first place.  I have never lost any money this way but I know plenty of fellows who have.

These are thoughts I share only with you, sweetheart, for I never mention them to anyone else unless in an incidental way.  I realize the individuals I’ve been speaking about are only a small minority.  By no means have I lost faith in men or women or in people in general.  I’m even more convinced of the necessity of teaching tolerance, justice & understanding.  I think I will be a better teacher because I know more about the trials confronting individuals.  Perhaps also I shall be firmer.  Ignorance & lack of understanding causes a large proportion of the intolerance & strife between individuals.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 8 October 1944]

A package came today from Roy and Mary.  It was very thoughtful of them.  There were two bags of sugar candies, some caramels (pronounce it as you wish, but I still call them karrmels), a little bag of peanuts, of walnuts, & of shelled pecans.  There were also 3 Eras, and a couple of little drawings by Mary Dee.  I was glad to get the Eras because my subscription numbers are so slow in coming.  I see the Oct. number has a nice article about the Twin Falls Ward, & a lot of pictures, including some fine ones of Dad.  I’ll not send them to you now because I want to save it to look at now & then.  In the picture taken in the onion patch, Dad is there with his counselors & a Stake representative.  In the picture, all of them are dressed like farmers but Dad, where as in fact Dad is the only farmer in the bunch.  And I mean Dad is a real hard-working dirt farmer, not just a supervisor.  When I read that article on how the ward had worked & finally purchased a 36-acre farm, I thought to myself, there is a church I’m proud to belong to.  We may not have beautiful ceremonies, elaborate doctrines or beautiful works of art, but we are a church, which builds men & women.  And that is, after all, the important thing.  Altho I seem to be drifting farther away from the Church in some ways (theology) I agree more than ever with their fundamental social & economic ideas, and I’m going to plug (support) them for all I’m worth when we move west.  I’ve seen too much of the degeneracy of Catholicism.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 22 December 1944]

This is the anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith, and I was thinking this afternoon of his idealism for a new and a better world, and his strength in fighting for it; yet, his mind was so simple and unsophisticated and some of his methods too crude to attract the really great thinkers of yesterday or today.  No great man has become converted to Mormonism.  But Mormonism is a religion for the young and unsophisticated, and it does so much for a man or woman when he or she is young that hardly any ever leave the Church.  Tho it converts no great thinkers it does not lose those who have been reared in the Church and have later become great men and great thinkers.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 23 December 1944]

Christmas Nite  1944

Dearest Darling Grace,

Sweetheart, I don’t quite know how to write this letter.  I shall probably not do a very good job of it because I am so full of emotion.  I have just taken some of the wine and cake, which were contained, in that wooden box.  And I imagine you are having some of the same wine and cake about now.  I feel even closer to you right now than I did last nite, because I am alone in my room with you.  I want to so much to tell you in beautiful words and phrases just how much I love you and adore you.  I feel so incapable.  All I can think of saying is “I love you, I adore you, I worship you.”  And I say it from the bottom of my heart and from the depths of my soul.  You are everything that’s sweet and dear to me.  I can imagine you setting down writing me or perhaps you are sitting up in bed.  The wine is near you and the cake and you are enjoying every bit just as I am.

I was invited out for dinner today and later on to supper and I enjoyed both meals.  But I did not drink any wine at either place, indeed I wasn’t even tempted to.  This is the first wine I’ve had in a year and perhaps more.  It is the best wine I ever tasted, and I hope you will make wine for us every Thanksgiving and Christmas for it is very, very delicious, and I love you for every single drop of it.  I am not going to drink all of it tonite.  It is too good to be consumed all at once.  I will take some every nite until it runs out.  I never imagined wine could be so delicious.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 25 December 1944]

26 Dec. 1944 Tues.

My Beloved Wife,

If I were properly to express gratitude for all the things you have done for me this Christmas I would not be able to do so in this letter, in tomorrow’s letter, or even in the next day’s letter.  You have done so very much for me, sweetheart, and I want you to know I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.

I don’t know where to begin.  I could just make a list and say, I‘m grateful for the following things.  But that would not tell you the special way I have appreciated each thing.  Naturally, you sent so many things that there are two or three things I didn’t need.  You would have been surprised if that didn’t happen, wouldn’t you; and I know you wouldn’t have believed me if I hadn’t told you so.

To begin with, I want to thank you for the wonderful cake and wine.  If you were to send a lot of such packages I’m afraid I would be a “wine bibber and a glutton.”  I have had some more tonight, and it tasted even better than I remembered last night.  The cake is extra good.  It couldn’t have been made by you because you don’t get the materials, otherwise I would have thought it home made.  It is very, very good.  And it goes wonderfully with the exquisite wine you made.  If your mother stays in North Carolina when we go west, we must insist she make and send us some every year.  The bottle is now about half empty.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 26 December 1944]

Your faith in me has been the only thing, which has sustained me.  One by one, all the people I’ve depended on has fallen away.  Dr. Molinari was suspended.  Boccia has had so much wife trouble that he is almost crazy himself, and so on.  It’s a good thing I’m not a smoking or drinking man.  The Lord has been good to me in giving me the kind of parents, the early surroundings, and a religion, which would mold me and support me in times like the present.  I’m glad I’m L.D.S. and I know I will never be able to give up my Church for another.  It’s a good religion, with good people, and I’m proud of it.  But it is liable to be a long time before we are in a Western community and can enjoy it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 25 February 1945]

25 March 1945  Sunday

Sweetest Honey,

Today—for the first time in at least a month I went to church.  To the same little Baptist church around the corner.  I was glad to be with them, but, I’m sorry to admit it, a little bored.  There was nothing stimulation about the service.  The first few times it was interesting to see how their services were conducted, what songs they sang, etc.  But all the novelty wears off after a few times—the same as infatuation for a strange girl wears off after the mystery becomes commonplace.  Sunday they are going to have a Baptism and so I’ll probably go to witness that.  But I doubt if I’ll continue to go regularly.  I think I’ll look up the L.D.S. group and start meeting with them again.  The only trouble is they meet every Sunday from 2 to 4 P.M. and that’s the time I like to sleep—or else take a walk to a friend’s house. 

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 25 March 1945]

I’m glad you feel the way you do about the Church, but as I said before, it is something which I leave entirely to you, and, above all, I want you to be happy.  At one time I would have said I could never have given up my church for anybody.  I love you so much now that atho (although) I would never join another church, I would quit my church entirely if you requested it and thought it wise.  That is the enormity of the love I have for you and the confidence I have in you.  You’ve got me exactly where you want me.  You see what a responsibility you have?

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 26 April 1945]

Julie called to talk over what she should do today, and while talking with her I happened to think I am supposed to go to the home of some relatives of the Pasellas here, to carry a letter from them to Rome.  So I went down there and spent about 2 hours or so.  The husband is in jail for being a Fascist and they were red hot mad against the Communists & partisans.  The lady has two children and had invited 3 other ladies to the gathering, in order to hear word from me of Rome & the Pasellas.  But mostly we talked about Fascism, and I did a little missionary work for the cause of democracy and good government.  I explained to them why I didn’t respect Mussolini and why Fascism was not a good system (militarism, lack of representative government or dictatorship from above, and the wasteful corrupt economic system it evolved).  They seemed hungry to listen to someone who could try to approach the problem on a balanced reasonable basis.  I also explained to them about Mormonism as I do to nearly everybody, and the more I bring it up the more I think it has a social & economic system as well as a youth program which Italy could profitably use.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 3 August 1945]

Sweetheart, when we are together in Raleigh, supposing we stay there for 3 or 4 months, what sort of plans did you have about Church going?  Regardless of what we do we shall be together, that’s the important thing.  Should we go to the Baptist Church every Sunday, LDS Church every Sunday, go to one on Sunday and the other the next Sunday, or go to one for Sunday school and the other in the evening, or just give up trying to work something out and stay at home.  It doesn’t much matter to me because there are advantages & disadvantages to all of them.  I know we will want to pay a visit to both as soon as possible so as to meet every one.  Maybe we can put off a decision until we get a chance to talk things over.  Where do the LDS meet now and do they have mutual now?

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 26 October 1945]

As for religion, I just don’t know.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Church.  I don’t seem to get any good out of Catholic services.  It’s been so long since I’ve been where they held soldier services that I don’t know if I still have the same reaction, but I’ve always thought they were very inadequate.  Soldiers in the audience come from all kinds of faith and so what the preacher says is largely a lot of useless generalities.  Soldiers go for only one reason, so they can write home they’ve been to Church.  Religion is one thing a soldier hardly ever thinks of from the time he leaves to go to the army till the time he’s discharged.  Soldiers who’ve gone thru great danger sometimes pray, but that’s generally out of weakness or helplessness, not from a genuine belief that it does any good.  My experience in the Army has taught me, if anything, that our Church has the best approach:  make it a church of young people; make it a practical religion; make all their activities happy ones that they’ll always remember.  Hold parties, mutual dances, picnics, give the kids leadership.  Their church will represent something good & constructive and will give them a lot of happy memories and good habits to fall back on.  A church of pious old women, like so many Protestant churches, is a pretty useless thing in this “brave new world.”

I think our church would do a good thing if they would call each young man on a mission when he enters the Army, and if he severs two years honorably, having done some work for the church, give him credit for having performed an honorable mission.  Not only would it help him to remember he was still serving God & his Church but it would do the Church a lot of good.  I may suggest this idea when we go to Salt Lake.  The Church might even go so far as to give soldiers returning in honor in this war credit for having performed a mission.  It would be a patriotic thing for it would give official Church blessing to honorable Army service and would encourage our best young men to do service in the Army.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 18 November 1945]

[Written on board ship, Dec. 24, 1945; to give to Raleigh Branch, Jan.1946]

Bros. & Sisters:

Things are the opposite of what they should be.  I am the one who has been away, losing religion and playing the part of the black sheep.  I should be down there in the audience listening to an exposition of the principles of the gospel by one of you.  I am the one who needs to listen and learn.  You are the ones who should teach me.  To be sure, there is an old Mormon proverb, which says that the preacher learns the most, so from that point of view it is just that I should be here.

I truly feel a humbleness in addressing you, especially in deciding what I should tell you.  Certainly, nearly all of you know the main story of my little adventure in the Army.  I have been in the army 33 months—just 3 months short of three years, and I was overseas for more than 29 of those 33 months.  I was inducted at Fort Bragg, stayed there a month playing Boy Scout soldier and courting Grace every Sunday.  At the end of that month I received a two-day pass, came to Raleigh, and was married.  I was sent immediately to Fort Custer, Michigan to be a member of a Prisoner of War Processing company.  This company was designed to handle the processing of prisoners of war immediately after they are captured so they can be turned over to a permanent stockade or enclosure.  By “processing” the Army means taking photos, getting fingerprints, interviewing, assignment of a serial no., and classification.  Don’t ask me why I as assigned to this kind of a Company.  I was a member of the outfit for 16 months and was unable to find out any way I could help the outfit or any qualification I possessed.  But this is the usual situation.  Men who were cooks in civilian life are trained to be Army mechanics and vice versa.

In this company we received 1 month of basic army training:  discipline, shooting, use of gas mask, drill, tactics, etc.  Then we were divided up into 3 platoons and had 1 month of specialized training prior to going overseas.  The 3 platoons were for the processing of German, Italian, & Japanese prisoners.  Each platoon was made up of 34 men & 1 officer, of who one-half or 17 were of German, Italian, or Japanese origin and the other half not important.

I could count to 10 in Japanese and I could say a few ordinary phrases in German, but I didn’t even know one word in Italian, so, of course I was assigned to the Italian platoon.  I was to be a finger printer.

After our month of specialized training we received a week’s furlough, which I spent with Grace in Idaho & Utah, and then we were sent to Camp Patrick Henry near Hampton Roads, Virginia, the principal port of embarkation for North Africa.  The German processing platoon followed us to North Africa and then went on to Italy where they handled nearly all the German prisoners taken by the 5th Army during the lengthy Italian campaign.  The Japanese platoon went to a Pacific Island where they handled the few Japanese prisoners taken by our troops in the Pacific.  Our platoon was sent to Africa where we stayed 14 months & did all sorts of work in connection with Italian prisoners.  We also did some processing of Germans.  The platoon eventually went to Italy to handle a Prisoner of War Information Bureau.  All in all our work in Africa was largely wasted.  And it is a pity because we had many talented men in our platoon who could have contributed a great deal to our eventual victory.

During our stay in Africa we were assigned at different times to 3 main areas:  Casablanca area of French Morocco; Bizerte & Tunis areas of Tunisia; and the Oran area of French Algeria.  We had a chance to learn a great deal about North Africa.

I asked several times for a transfer and finally was transferred to a Civil Affairs outfit, which was going in on the invasion of Southern France to aid in the administration of Southern French areas.  Gen. DeGaulle refused to allow Allied interference in French Civil Administration & insisted the French could take care of all it except the unloading of food & medical supplies, so the original group was halved and the remainder of us sent to Italy to await assignment there.

We landed in Naples and stayed a month in that area:  sightseeing, doing guard, K.P., & getting into trouble.  We moved to Rome and our assignment was still indefinite.  After 2 weeks of sight seeing I took the bull by the horns and paid a visit to the Executive Director of the Allied Commission.  He felt sorry for a brother economist and immediately had me assigned to him as his assistant.  After a couple of months I was assigned as resident controller of the Central Institute of Statistics, an Italian agency, with 5,000 employees, which was doing a comprehensive census of the 38 Central, Southern, & Insular provinces of Italy.  I worked there for 6 months—till April of 1945—when the big push started in north Italy.  I was then assigned to do plain & later direct price control work in North Italy.  I was stationed in Milan most of this time.  I remained with this job until I received permission to begin preparations for the long-awaited journey home.

Visit to Switzerland

Well, that’s the story in outline of my stay overseas.  Of course it just ells you the basic facts.  It doesn’t tell you a single thing of the things you would like to know—what are the Arabs like, what are the Italians like, how did German prisoners act, what is the army like, what are some of the opinions I’ve formulated about life, politics, & religion?  What does it feel like to be away from one’s homeland—one’s wife, one’s work, one’s religion—for so long?  What things have I learned in the Army?  And what other things have I unlearned?  Each of these should be a talk in itself.  All except those pertaining to religion should not really be discussed in a religious service like this.  So I’d like to say just a few things about soldiers & religion.  I’m afraid you are not going to like what I will tell you, but I will tell you of my experience of soldiers in Africa & Italy comprising over 1 mil. Americans.

1. Soldiers show little, if any, interest in religion.  This is shown by:

a.  Won’t read Bible—or carry it—in spite of distributions of same.

b.  Don’t go to Church.

c.  Don’t pay much attention to chaplain.  Only sissies—funny jokes.  No reverence.

d.  Don’t discuss it—either it isn’t worth discussion or it isn’t discussable.  I don’t know which.  Never ask what a fellow is.  Ask where he’s from & what he did—civilian life & his origin, but not his religion.  This in contrast to LDS who consider religion the most important thing in life & consider the most worthwhile & profitable of all subjects for discussion.

2. Does this mean they are irreligious?  And bad?

No it doesn’t!  I’ve only seen 2 soldiers read the Bible since I’ve been in the Army; they were both Negroes.  Does that mean they were better or more Christian?  Our fathers in the last war used to read the Bible more often but they also got drunk more often.

Distinguish Christianity vs. Church-ianity.

Christian virtues & how our soldiers practice many of them.

3. Divergence between soldier & Church due to:

a.  Chaplains on the whole not high caliber—men without personality, imagination & color

b.  The Christian “messages” contribute little to a soldier:

1.  Catholic

2.  Protestant

3.  Jewish

Obsoleteness of Bible reading, stereotyped prayers & sermons, sentimentation & revival character of hymns.

c.  Mechanical & “advanced” nature of our civilization.  We no longer fear elements.  Success of journey doesn’t depend on God but on this, that, etc.  Not like a primitive people who must rely on supernatural explanations.

d.  Wrong emphasis in religions.  Here bring in Mormon conception of religion as encompassing all.  Not separation—religion in church, education in school, business in office, etc.  Difference in reaction of LDS boy in recalling & relating present experience to past:





Mountain Climbing-hiking—


How also Army could be under Church.  Explain my ideas of mission & museum.

 [LJAD, Talk written on board ship to give to Raleigh Branch, written Dec. 24, 1945; gave Jan.1946]

All of us in life have certain missions.  We are all given talents—talents of money, mind, personality, or body.  Our patriarchal blessing tells us what our missions in life will be.  I have always felt that my mission was along educational lines, that I should bear witness of the truth to intellectual people.

All of us have missions.  Some are called to farming, some to business, some to labor, some to the home.  Some are called to labor in the mission field.  My mission has never been to go to the mission field.  I have been called to teach the truth in our schools—among students and teachers.  It seems as tho I have always been laboring in the outskirts of Mormonism.  Never in my life have I lived where there was a majority of Mormons, and generally I have been where there were few if any.  In fact, I have had hundreds of friends who said I am the only Mormon they have ever known.  I hope you will excuse the personal nature of this talk because I feel as tho I’m reporting back from a mission.

For 4 years I was a student at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  There I learned of the importance of secular knowledge—of science and philosophy.  It was also there I learned to appreciate the Book of James from the New Testament, which I just read.  It was during this time, after considerable prayer, that I knew my mission was to be among educational people.  Teaching not as satisfactory as many other occupations.  Frogs churning cream to butter.  Keep plugging conservation.

For a year and a half I was a graduate student and teacher at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  I was the first LDS person to be a member of the faculty.  The people used to take me around and show me off as a real live Mormon without horns.  There was no LDS Church in Chapel Hill.  Every month or so I was able to go to Durham to Sunday School and Church.  I met there many old people who had known my Dad when he was a missionary there 22 years ago.  I met some who had been converted baptized and ordained by him.  They have a staunch group of around 30 or 40 there now and a fine little Church.

For another year and a half I was a teacher n North Carolina State College in Raleigh.  Only two families were members of the Church there.  Within a year we had 35 members, all of them very active and we received very favorable mention from the President of the Mission, who said we had the best branch in the mission.  I had many friends among the faculty of the University who had learned first about the Church from me.

When the war came I decided to volunteer for one of the branches of the Armed Services.  They said I was too short and had susceptibility for asthma, so they turned me down.  I left my school teaching and volunteered to work for the OPA as an economist when that agency was just getting started.  I am very proud of the work of our office in trying to regulate prices in the interests of both consumer and producer.  When I was drafted into the Army I was able to leave in my place one of the staunch members of the Branch, who is today chief economist for the Raleigh State OPA and doing very fine work.  It is my prayer that in the interests of all of us Congress will see fit to pass an effective price and rent control bill so as to keep down the cost of living and stimulate the production and distribution of goods.

For thirty-three months I was in the Army.  I spent thirty of these thirty-three months overseas—15 months in North Africa and 15 months in Italy.  I also was for a short while in Switzerland.  It was while I was overseas that that part of my patriarchal blessing came true which said that I should take pleasure in testifying of the gospel to the nations.

I was discharged in January.  Within a week I was back at the University teaching, and I remained there until classes ended the first of this month.  My wife and I are very happy about the work we are to do in Logan.  My duty will be, of course, to teach regular economic courses that are taught at the University, but my duties are a little more than that.  I am to study and write about the economics of the Church.  Coming back to the Mountain Region to live is like having been out on a stormy sea for a long time and then sailing port on a clear day.

I should like to end by giving you an idea of some of the things I have learned during the many years I have lived away from Twin Falls.

1) I have learned, for one thing, that there is a great more to Mormonism than the Principles of the Gospel.  We usually use the Articles of Faith to describe our beliefs and practices, but they are not even an adequate introduction to Mormonism.  They summarize a good deal of the theology, but there are so many things about the way we live and the way we do things and think about things that they do not mention.  There must be doing—action—as well as faith. Dog on cocklebur.

2) I have learned, for another thing, that the important things in life are not money, property, or material things.  We have an intense competitive spirit in America, and everybody seems to feel that they have to work hard, cheat and manage in order to make more money so they can buy Beauty Rest mattresses or coca colas or see more movies or have more salt and pepper shakers than anybody else.  The pioneers were just about as happy as we are.  The people in the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains have very little in a material way, but they are probably more happy and certainly more friendly and human than most of us.  We should strive for enduring pleasures rather than passing fancies.

3) We should be very honest about our beliefs and practices and not be hypocrites or deceivers.  If we feel a certain way about a thing we should tell others, even tho the idea might not be popular.  It is earnest, honest discussion that makes for spiritual as well as intellectual progress.  We must also be very humble with respect to our ideas.  There are millions and millions of people in the world all of whom are trying to live the best they can.  We can feel superior to them, but not too superior.  And sometimes we are even inferior to them.  Hatred and distrust are easy when you don’t know others or don’t try to understand their point of view.

4) Our members and missionaries should stress, not theology, but the economic, social, recreational and health aspects of the Church.  The world will not take quotations from the Bible as proof any more for the correctness of a religion.  They want to know what is the type of life we lead and that is what we ought to tell them about.  It is a wonderful life and we want them to share it with us.  When you get away from the Church you realize the importance of human relationships.

[LJAD, Talk given to Twin Falls Ward, 30 June 1946]

Grace and I were the speakers in the 10th Ward Sacrament meting.  She spoke of how she learned of Mormonism and became converted.  I spoke on why I like our church and gave my interpretation of it; i.e., that it was not the matter of theology, but of better living.

[LJAD, Log of Classes Held at USAC Fall Quarter 1946-47, 20 October 1946]

Went to Priesthood meeting.  Grace & I went to S.S. to missionary class.  Stayed for Fast meeting.  Bore my testimony; that is, expressed my thankfulness for the blessings we have enjoyed during the past year.

[LJAD, Log of Classes Held at USAC Fall Quarter 1946-47, Sunday 5 January 1947]

2.  Mormon view that saving people temporally is as important as saving them spiritually.  This world as important as the next.  A good economic order on earth as important as good morals or spirituality, in fact they are inter-connected and one.   Quote Brigham Young and others.

[LJAD, Rotary Club Talk, 4 January 1951]


Leonard J. Arrington

In the fall of 1956 my wife Grace and I took our children to Pasadena, California, where I would spend the year as a Visiting Fellow at the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery in nearby San Marino.  Further south and west, in Los Angeles County, lived Elmer and LeRuth Tyau.  Elmer had been a student of mine at Utah State University, and LeRuth was a favorite cousin.  Before graduating from USU Elmer and LeRuth had decided to move to Southern California where they were married and Elmer obtained employment as a chemical laboratory technician with AeroJet Corporation in Azusa, California.  Our family had visited with them shortly after arriving in Southern California.

One afternoon (January 28, 1957) while I was working at the library, the library assistant came to tell me that I had an urgent telephone call.  LeRuth had called and frantically said there had been an explosion at the laboratory where Elmer worked, and he had been severely hurt and the doctors did not expect him to live.  But he must live!  “You must hurry over and administer to him!”

Fortunately I had taken the car that day.  I do not now recall why I had driven; almost always I took the bus.  I phoned Grace to inform her, and then drove as quickly as possible to the AeroJet plant, which under normal circumstances would have required an hour’s drive.  I’m afraid I did not pay much attention to the speed rules and arrived in forty-five minutes.  LeRuth was there waiting for me.

As I entered the room where Elmer had been placed, it appeared that the doctors held little hope for his survival.  With LeRuth kneeling beside me, I hurriedly anointed him and offered a prayer.

Our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I pray…

LeRuth:  Yes, Heavenly Father, bless him, bless him to stay alive.

Having faith we pray…

LeRuth:  Yes, we have faith, Heavenly Father.  He must live!

Our prayers went on, earnestly, tearfully, fervently.  Here was a brother whose whole side had been severely damaged by a powerful explosion.  So torn apart was his body that his intestines had been wrapped in a towel as he was rushed to the hospital.  Doctors had told LeRuth that he would surely die quickly.  She must get “their priest” to perform “last rites.”

A miracle must happen.  But we had faith that it would, and said so in our prayers.

We had an inner confirmation that Heavenly Father recognized the genuineness of our faith.  The blood technician who came to check Elmer’s blood type also had a special feeling as he saw that the patient was a former fellow student and Church member.  And the Elder from the local ward assigned to assist with the administration had lived in the same dormitory with Elmer.  The doctors spliced Elmer’s vital organs together, and they were blessed with the skill to save his life.  Miraculously Elmer survived; doctors made extensive skin grafts and performed other operations to “fix him up.”  Our prayers were answered.

After five years, in which time Elmer completed his schooling at USU, Elmer and LeRuth moved to Hawaii, Elmer’s birthplace.  He had been fitted with an artificial arm, and his body was healed so he could live a normal life.  Tall, strong, and handsome like his Hawaiian mother and athletic like his Chinese father, he could even run and swim.  He soon pursued a career as a counselor in a Hawaiian rehabilitation program.

Now, twenty-five years later, Elmer and LeRuth have a family of seven children, all of whom are valiant in the Kingdom.  The three sons have filled honorable missions—one to Taiwan, one in Hong Kong, and one in California.  All of the children are talented, active, and beautiful.

LeRuth and Elmer have engaged in intensive genealogical research on the Tyau family and have done temple work for twenty generations of Tyaus, back to 1300 A.D.

The priesthood administration and the prayers of the pleading wife and mother were heard and answered affirmatively by our Heavenly Father.

[LJAD, “The Prayer for a Miracle” written by LJA about his experience administering to his former student and favorite cousin’s husband, Elmer Tyau, 28 January 1957]

Everybody thought it strange that we didn’t drink wine.  They viewed us much the same as we view the Amish, who don’t have telephones or cars or use lipstick or nail polish or go to movies.  One of the maids said, “I hope you won’t be offended if I ask you a personal question.  How is it that you don’t drink wine?”  I said it was a matter of personal belief, of creed, of being raised in a community that doesn’t use it.  I explained that they drink wine in California and New York.  I also explained that many Americans who come to Europe commence to drink wine and can’t hold it or handle it and become drunk.

[LJAD, not certain if this is part of his diary or a letter, about 1 February 1959]

1 January 1966

My resolutions on this date:

1.  Take the family to Disneyland during the year.

2.  Finish a history of the U & I Sugar Company

3.  Prepare a good paper for the organization of American Historians at Cincinnati in April.

4.  Conduct with imagination and wisdom the affairs of the newly organized Mormon History Association.

5.  Try to be more dignified and spiritual in my calling in USU Stake.

[LJAD, Diary of LJA, 1 January 1966]

Leonard J. Arrington Diary – December 9, 1971

Whitney Smith told us today that Orson F. Whitney said the Lord gives the Prophet a vision, not a blueprint.  The Lord provided for the growth that came from developing our own blueprint.

Said President Grant was asked if he had revelations.  He replied, “I never had a revelation about the Church except the revelation about the Welfare Plan.”  And since we know that was developed in the poor wards of SLC by Harold B. Lee and Marion Romney, then that shows the natural way in which revelations are received.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, 9 December 1971]

Brother Anderson said that a number of persons who were granted manifestations of a heavenly presence had apostatized from the Church.  Perhaps the forces of the evil one worked harder against them; perhaps their experience was rare enough that they began to have questions or doubts about it.  He gave some examples.

This story comes from President Heber J. Grant.  At a testimony meeting a certain sister arose and said she had received a manifestation that someone in the audience had just come back from the canyon and while he was there he had seen the Lord, and if he was not too bashful or hesitant he should stand up and declare that he was the person and bear his testimony.  Brother John W. Taylor was in the meeting.  He then arose and said it was true—that he had had this manifestation while he was in the canyon.

Shortly after Heber J. Grant was ordained to be an apostle, his brother came to him and said that Moses Thatcher said that no one was worthy to be an apostle who had not seen the Lamb of God.  He asked Heber J. Grant if he had seen the Lamb and Apostle Grant said no.  His brother then said, “according to Moses Thatcher then you are not worthy to be an apostle.”  Later on President Grant told Brother Anderson he had not seen the Lamb but the Council in Heaven, or as he told Brother Anderson, he seemed to see it.  He seemed to hear voices, he seemed to have a visual representation of the council.  This interested Brother Anderson and he said it was like Enos who stated that “the word of the Lord came into my mind” and another who said in Section 110 “the eyes of my understanding were open.”  Since Moses Thatcher made the statement and was an apostle, presumably he had seen the Lamb, but he later apostatized. 

Maybe we have stronger testimonies if they come through the Holy Ghost rather than through direct visual and audible messages.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Tuesday, 15 May 1973]

(1) Faith inseparable from study, from use of the intellect, from development of the powers of analysis. Faith is reason grown bold. Faith is a creative process. 

(2) The mills of the Kingdom may grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. 

(3) Willingness to participate in the pick and shovel work of the Kingdom. If we aspire to history, let us be willing to pay the price. 

(4) Don’t take yourself too seriously—overmagnify your calling–see the humor in the situation. 

(5) What we are doing is extremely important–record, observe, diaries. 

(6) What we’re doing is not for our own advancement: labor for the Kingdom; living up to our Temple covenants of consecrating our time, talents, and personal resources for the benefit of the Kingdom.

Because your faith and participation, we can bring an understanding of Church History which secular historians can’t do. 

[LJA Diary, 1 Aug., 1973]

Sunday we picked up Jan Shipps at 9:45 a.m. and took her with us to Sunday School, then back to our house for Sunday dinner, then at 3:30 to Sacrament Meeting. Jan said that despite all her long interest in the Mormons and their history, these were the first Mormon meetings she had ever attended.

Jan is doing an essay on Lucy Mack Smith for the Bob Flanders’ volume on Friends of Joseph Smith. She is doing Lucy Mack Smith in the context of her family–the relationships among the siblings and between the parents and the children. Having had a musical genius for a son, Jan has a first acquaintanceship with some of the problems that are created by the presence of a genius in the family. She is inclined to approach Joseph Smith and for that matter Lucy Mack Smith in the context of what happens when a family raises a religious prodigy.

Jan and I were saying that theology and religious philosophy was so important in the early 19th century that the primary task of the missionary was simply to explain the gospel and to explain the theological issues of the time in a way that seemed reasonable and acceptable. Early converts to Mormonism, we learn from reading their journals, came from listening to one or two or three simple expository sermons in which the preacher started from the Bible and discussed the various theological issues demonstrating that the Mormon view was the most reasonable and the most Biblical. People were converted after one or two or three of these sermons and then devoted the rest of their lives to following the gospel and the Church. There was no such thing as Mormon ward life. There were no wards, there were no chapels, there were no regular Sacrament Meetings, no Church social life, no basketball games, baseball games, dances, and so on. A person was not fellowshipped nor were there even home teachers. A person simply by coincidence happened to hear Mormon missionaries, was converted to Mormonism in one or two sermons, and then gathered with the Saints. In many instances, they believed the last days were imminent.

Jan says that I should read some of the chapters in Sidney Mead Lively Experiment and also Wiebe In Search of Order, the need in the early 19th century to bring some order into their lives. Mormonism represented a restoration which would provide such order both socially and economically and also theologically and above all with the priesthood ecclesiastically. 

[LJA Diary, 18 Mar., 1974]

I should explain why I didn’t go on a mission for the Church. I suppose that my mother and father had always expected that I would go on a mission. They didn’t say much about it. Our home was a home of work and the dinner table conversations always related to our work assignments, not to such speculative things as our futures. They sent my older brother on a mission about 1930 or 1931 to the Southern States. As I recall he served under LeGrand Richards and was in South Carolina most of the time. When I came home from the University of Idaho in the summer of 1936 my father asked me about going on a mission. I told him I did not want to interrupt my schooling, at least at that stage.

I had gone to the university to major in agriculture. I had a Union Pacific scholarship for $100 which was important to me. I received $50 of it fall semester and another $25 when I registered for the second semester, so that I had received $75 total. I was to receive the last $25 during the fall of 1936 but only if I registered in the college of agriculture. I was disappointed with my freshman year at the University of Idaho. I thought I was going to learn how to farm. I did not know that people went to the university, not to learn to farm but to become trained in agricultural science. Upon graduation they then went to work for the government for the Department of Agriculture or for state extension service or for some agricultural company—McCormick Dering Seed Company or something on that order. This was a shock to me to realize that a person did not go to college to become a better farmer. The courses I took included a year of chemistry, a semester of botany, a semester of zoology, a year of math, as well as a year of English. I enjoyed the English and Zoology but none of the other courses. Although I received a grade of “B” both semesters in chemistry, I did not understand it, had no interest in it, and could not see that it had any relationship to farming. Nor did I enjoy the courses in botany and horticulture. I enjoyed very much the zoology, perhaps because I had gone through a course in biology in high school. I received an “A” in zoology. And because of my intense interest in it, I thought perhaps I would have made a good doctor if I could have afforded to go to medical school. It was absolutely out of the question, so I did not seriously consider it.

I had had good training in English and spelling in grade school, junior high and high school, and I enjoyed very much writing original orations for the Future Farms public speaking contests. I also enjoyed very much the leadership work in Future Farmers. While I was in my first year in FFA I was elected reporter and wrote some papers for the high school student newspaper. I also wrote an article on my friend Howard Annis of Twin Falls which was published in American Farm Youth Magazine.

When I enrolled at the University of Idaho, I saw in the student newspaper, the Argonaut, the request for people to serve as reporters for the different colleges. I volunteered to do the reporting for the college of agriculture and did write many articles during the year. When I was in English class the professor asked us to do some autobiographical writing. After I had made out my report the professor made it a point to contact me after class and say, “I should think you might be interested in going to law school. You look to me like you would make a fine lawyer in an agricultural region.” This is the first time that idea had occurred to me. I went to the dean of the law school and told him that I might be interested and asked him many questions. Among other things I asked him what I should concentrate on as an undergraduate if I were to go to law school. He said, “Take some history, lots of English, and take all the economics you can stand.” He said that grades in law school had a closer correlation to grades in economics than any other field of study.  

My original intention was to take agricultural economics as a major. Two reasons for this: the first that it was the only major in agriculture that would seem to be helpful to a person on a farm. The other reason was that I had become fascinated with agricultural economic problems when I was preparing my orations for FFA. When I spoke with advisors in the college of agriculture about returning in the fall of 1936 to major in agricultural economics, I plead to be excused from taking another year of chemistry but they refused. It was required! My friends also strongly advised me to take the general economics class in place of the regularly scheduled agricultural economics class. In order to do this I had to register in the college of social sciences and not in the college of agriculture. This meant that I had to give up my last $25 of my Union Pacific scholarship.

For some reason that I do not now recall, I was permitted to work in the agricultural chemistry laboratory during the fall semester of 1936. This was under an NYA program. I had worked during 1935 hauling manure and helping with the construction of some agricultural building. I think most of the time was spent hauling manure, again on NYA for 35 cents an hour for forty-three hours for a total of $15.15 per month. This had provided my basic expenses during the year.

During the fall quarter of 1936 I thus registered in the college of social sciences with a major in pre-law so that I could take general economics and would not have to take chemistry. At the end of fall semester I was able to get an NYA job working in the library. I enjoyed that very much. I was completely enthralled with economics. I read not only the regular text but other texts as well. I read every bit of reading matter that the professor suggested plus other books and articles that I found in the library. I was particularly excited with the style of writing and analysis of a professor of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. His name may come to me later. I received  top grades in general economics and found that my mind was good for economic analysis. I never did get over my enthrallment with economics and ended up with a major in that. I then applied for various graduate fellowships and did receive one from the University of North Carolina, which I accepted gladly. I gave no further thought to going to law school.

At the end of my first year at the university of Idaho, to repeat, I was sufficiently uncertain about my major and the future that I wanted to have at least one more year at the university before going on a mission–if I was to go. Although my father seemed to be anxious for me to go, he allowed me to return to college without a great deal of fuss. After the second year, however, he was quite insistent about me going on a mission. By that time I was so excited about economics that I didn’t want to interrupt it and felt that I should continue with my university education. My father asked me to have an interview with President Charles A. Callis, his president of the Southern States Mission and at that time an apostle. My father set up an appointment with him and I did chat for awhile with Brother Callis. He did not seem to be at all insistent. He simply mentioned the advantages of going on a mission, but he really did not try to argue me out of going back to school. His was a low-key approach; I appreciated that. I told him I would think about it but that my present inclination was to go back to school. He said something like, “That’s fine if that is the way you feel after praying about it.” My father later asked me about the interview and I told him that Brother Callas thought I should do what I thought was best. My father seemed to accept that.

One thing that troubled me was that my father seemed to be prepared to send me on a mission but had insisted he could not afford to send me any money to help me at the university. I probably did not receive more than $15 or $20  from him during my first year and probably not more than that during my second year at the university. And he was willing to sign that he could not afford to send me to college, so that I could receive the NYA help. How then could he find the $50 or $60 necessary each month to support me on a mission? If he was able to support me on a mission, I felt he should help me to go through college. I suppose if he had been helpful to me at college I might have felt more dependent upon him and more anxious to go on a mission.

Anyway, I definitely decided to return to the university in the fall of 1937 and ended up not performing a proselyting mission for the Church.

I have not felt guilty about not going on a mission, but I suppose I have been more anxious to perform services for the Church in other ways that might make up for that. Thus I was very active when the opportunity came in Raleigh, North Carolina and became a branch president. I also was very active in the Logan Tenth Ward and later in USU Stake when we moved to Utah.

When I was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina I read widely and among other things subscribed to Harper’s Magazine. I particularly enjoyed the “Easy Chair” by Bernard DeVoto and “One Man’s Meat” by E. B. White. I suppose my interest in the latter was a kind of nostalgia for the farm. He had many, many articles about farming and New England and I read and reread these with enormous interest. I even clipped them out so I could preserve them. By reading these, I not only satisfied some of this feeling of nostalgia, but also learned something about writing style. I have always thought he was one of the finest stylists in the United States. 

Children can be cruel.  They will laugh at children who are abnormal.  They will make fun of unfortunate people who are ugly or have a big nose or have a glass eye or are cross-eyed or have a shriveled arm or are not very bright or have some other problem.  Teenagers have a strong bent toward conformity and will do cruel acts toward others who have their own reasons not to conform.  I remember an occasion when a boy had longer hair than the custom and a group of young people forcibly held him down and whacked off his hair with horse shears.

I also was not beyond participating in such groups myself.  At the University of Idaho during my second year there came to live in the Institute of Religion James B. Condie, who had just returned from a mission to France.  Nobody else in the Institute and hardly anybody else at the university had a mustache.  I remember participating in a group at the Institute who held him down and while he wept shaved off his mustache.  As I look at it now, this was no better than fraternity groups which forcibly poured whiskey down the throat of a person who had not been previously drunk.

[LJA Diary, 25 Mar., 1975}

Jack Adamson died unexpectedly of a heart attack this week.  So that eliminates one of those we thought we might get to help us with our Brigham Young biography.  Not churchy, not orthodox, he nevertheless represented wonderful human and intellectual values.  We liked him.  In many ways he was like myself—grew up on an Idaho farm, went to the University of Idaho, studied in the East, found positive values in Mormonism but not always the ones that the so-called orthodox thought paramount, and was often warned about his Sunday School teaching.  More driven out than deliberately walking out of the community of Saints, he nevertheless remained sweet and not bitter, and accepted invitations like the one we extended to him to do the introduction to the Dean Jessee book to accentuate the positive values of the culture in which he was reared.  I will not say that I wish we had more like him, because he died essentially outside the faith, but I wish we had more inside the faith who had his humanity and his love of beautiful thoughts and imagery.

[LJA to Children, 12 Sep., 1975; LJA Diary]

Many Latter-day Saints assume that one’s conversion is a gradual process, that it begins as soon as one understands–perhaps at the age of three or four, and that one simply “grows into” his conversion to the Church in which he has been reared. I have heard many, many people say that they have always known that the Church is true; at no time have they had any doubt that the Gospel is true, that Jesus is our Savior, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that our living Prophet (George Albert Smith, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball) is a Prophet of God and speaks for Him. While unquestionably this is the experience of most active Latter-day Saints, it was not mine. I have undergone the experience of deciding whether the Church was true, whether Jesus was a great man or a Son of God, whether Joseph Smith was an inspired religious teacher and prophet or leader who deluded people into following him. I have felt it necessary to decide whether Mormonism was a man-made religion, or a God-revealed one. This period of study and conversion occurred between 1935, when I went to the university, to 1941, when I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to teach at N. C. State College.

Of those who have undergone conversions, the vast majority suggest that their conversion is the result of an explicit “sign” or “miracle” or visitation by “the Spirit.” The Holy Ghost has been responsible for their conversion–he has testified to them in some manner that the Gospel is true, and the person accepts this testimony and ever after has a personal knowledge that the Gospel is true. I have had moments when I felt there was corroboration for my religious feelings, but these have not brought about my conversion; they have simply given corroborative evidence.

Those who have asserted that conversion comes only thru the spirit–it does not come through the mind–are wrong. Or at least my own conversion was not the product of action by the spirit, unless it can be said that the spirit works through the mind. My own experience as a university student and professor suggests that the emphasis on the spirit, the “put down” of the intellect, does a disservice to religion in general and to Mormonism in particular, for it suggests that religion—Mormonism–cannot be intellectually supported; its support rests on an emotional basis; one must put one’s mind aside to accept its truths. This is palpably false. Or at least this is my own experience. C. S. Lewis has written:

[Christ] told us to be not only “as harmless as doves,” but also “as wise as serpents.” He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first class fighting trim … It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. (Mere Christianity, p. 75.)

The first principle of the Gospel, according to our Articles of Faith, is faith, and people often define faith to mean persuading yourself that a thing is true regardless of the facts and the logic. The power of positive thinking, as Norman Vincent Peale would say; straight-minded thinking, in which one brainwashes himself. To repeat a quotation from C. S. Lewis:

Now Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” (Mere Christianity, p 121-6)

To go on with Lewis:

If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you that you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. … God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. (Mere Christianity, p. 75)

My own conversion occurred as the result of study and thought; it was not the result of sudden intuition, or a vision, or inspiration, or feeling of repentance. It ocurred over a series of years and involved: (a) Study of Mormon work, particularly the works of James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, and Lowell L. Bennion; (b) Study of Christian works, particularly philosophers, John Henry Newman, and others; (c) investigation of other churches: I attended Presbyterian Church occasionally in Chapel Hill, and other churches occasionally here and there; (d) reading religious or philosophical novels, such as Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh; Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage; George Santayana, The Last Puritan. A little learning inclineth men’s minds toward doubt; but more deeper learning inclineth him to believe. At least that was my experience. It can be said that my testimony came gradually over the months in the library of the University of North Carolina.

What I am suggesting is that my conversion was a product of study, of testing ideas, of exercising thought, of reading, of analysis, of considering the evidence. To repeat C. S. Lewis:

anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened; one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education in itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world. (Mere Christianity, p. 75)

And a true testimony comes only from the greatest honesty in thought. Listen again to Lewis:

When a young man who has been going to Church in a routine way honestly realizes that he does not believe in Christianity and stops going—provided he does it for honesty’s sake and not just to annoy his parents—the spirit of Christ is probably nearer to him then than it ever was before. (Mere Christianity, p. 163)

There is passage in the Screwtape Letters (p 25) which tells us another fact; namely, that orthodox peop1e often assert that “atheistic professors” and “atheistic authors” put unorthodox ideas in the heads of young people, and that’s how they lose religion. Lewis, on the other hand, has the demon Screwtape say: “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their mind; in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” The man with nothing in his head loses his spirituality. Screwtape cautions Wormwood not to use argument or ideas to turn the patient away from the Church and from God because he might thereby

awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?  Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences.  (Screwtape Letters, p. 12)

[LJA Diary, 29 Nov., 1975]

A key stage in my own reconciliation of modern learning with religious belief came with reading George Santayana, THE LIFE OF REASON: REASON IN RELIGION. The book was published in 1936 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, and I apparently bought it in 1937 and read most of it very carefully and appreciatively. The book was very influential for me; it helped me to see that one might be a sincere believer in Mormonism and at the same time accept the findings of the brightest intellects, whether in philosophy, or science, or the humanities. (Of course, Santayana says nothing about Mormonism as such, and quite possibly had no knowledge of it.) In particular, Reason and Religion helped me to understand that it isn’t important whether certain religious or theological affirmations are truths in a literal sense, or whether they are true in a symbolic or poetic sense. And while religious doctrines may be right symbolically, they should not be substituted for scientific truth. At the same time, those who accept scientific truth as the only truth, as the final truth, end up substituting inadequate personal symbols which are unsatisfying and unedifying. Santayana introduced me to the idea of “myth”-to “mythical truth.”-which is a very satisfying concept. Religion may contain a symbolic, not a literal, representation of truth and life. And for this reason one has no difficulty in trying to harmonize religious assertions with scientific “truth.”

In the Christian Epic, one may believe in the Virgin Birth in a symbolic sense, without worrying about the literal truth of it or whether such a thing was possible in the real world. In the Mormon Epic, one may believe in the First Vision without worrying unduly as to whether God and Jesus literally appeared in person to Joseph Smith, or whether he thought he saw them in a mystical sense. Did the plates of the Book of Mormon exist in a concrete literal sense or did they exist in a symbolic sense? I feel comfortable either way. 

I was stimulated to make this diary entry by reading Scott Kenney’s article “A Defense of the Christian Faith,” which is in the Sunstone which just came out today. The following fit right in to the thoughts to which Santayana turned me to back in 1937 or 1938:

The Scriptures are not themselves divine revelation. They are merely the human testimonies of divine revelation.

Modern man does not live only by abstract reasoning, but also by stories and images. We should not exorcise the pictorial, mythical, symbolical elements from religion as if men had only ears and not eyes, as if being stirred could ever be replaced by intellectual comprehension.

Truth is not simply facticity. A newspaper report of a traveler attacked on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho would perhaps leave us quite cold, even if it were truth, historically true. On the other hand, the invented story of the good Samaritan on the same road stirs us immediately, since it contains more truth.

Many Mormons miss the power of the Restoration message by attempting to abstract its teachings from their historical context.

The ultimate criterion of a person’s Christian spirit is not theory but practice: not how he thinks of teachings, dogmas, interpretations, but how he acts in ordinary life. 

[LJA Diary, 15 Jul., 1977]

Wednesday night Jan Craw and her husband Michael Cain came by and we

had a nice visit for a couple of hours. They live not far from us. A delightful visit. Thursday night–last night–was the Parley’s Ward Summer Party at Sugar House Park. James went with us and we had a nice dinner. In the prizes afterward, Mamma won a nice car blanket. Mamma hadn’t been out of the house for almost a week, and she seemed to enjoy it, but got a little tired before it was over. We like Parley’s Ward very much, and now feel that we wouldn’t ever like to move out of it. Not a single SOB in the ward, and that’s saying something.

This might have been a pleasant weekend, but yesterday I was given an assignment to do a background study on a certain topic for the First Presidency. On the one hand, I was very flattered, pleased, honored, delighted, that they asked the Church Historian to do such a study for them. On the other hand, they want the study by Tuesday morning. And since I can’t do it on the job very well, that will take up this weekend. That’s one reason I’m writing tonight, so I’ll have all day tomorrow to work without interruption on the study they requested. Will required about 20 or 25 pages, and I don’t know if I can get that done over the weekend or not. Guess I’ll have to. Besides, Sunday evening I have to talk to a study group.

[LJA to Children, 5 Aug., 1977]

After a lovely dinner catered by two women, Ruth and Colleen, we heard a talk by Russell Ballard, a new member of the Quorum of Seventy, who spoke on experiences as President of the Toronto Mission. Brother Ballard is a son of Melvin, age 80, who is a son of Melvin J. Ballard, long-time beloved apostle of the Church. Melvin looks very much like his illustrious father. I gather he has been in the automobile business—Ballard Motors. He is very vigorous and said that he had just finished reading The Story of the Latter-day Saints by Allen and Leonard and thought it was a magnificent history. He said it was the first of our LDS published histories which attempted to be “fair.” He said the trouble with Essentials in Church History is that it presents a one-sided view of our history–the Saints were always right and everybody else was always wrong. He thought the tone of The Story of the Latter-day Saints was just right. He told this to a group who were seated near him, and I happened to overhear though I was carrying on a conversation with Brother Sill. He later told the same thing to me when we sat together during another part of the program. 

Brother Ballard began by reading from Richard Evans’s history of the Church in England, the episode in which Heber C. Kimball and colleagues experienced the devil before they began their extensive baptisms in Preston. He then said that this had always seemed to him like something that happened in the early church and was not happening in the church today. But his experience in Toronto had convinced him that it could happen today just as much. The more successful our missionary activities, the more opposition is presented by Satan. When we are contented with low baptisms and our activity is desolatory Satan is not worried. But when we are making great success the influence of Satan is present. The inference is that the presence of Satan means that we are doing very well.

When Brother Ballard went to the mission there were about sixty baptisms a year for 110 missionaries. He vowed to at least double that and managed to more than do so within a year. By the time he left they were getting several hundred baptisms for 170 missionaries. This success, he thinks, is what attracted Satan’s opposition. He had two or three experiences in which he was persuaded that Satan was present, and he related one of them in some detail. A sister who for particular reasons was having some problems with the faith was going with a group of others to the temple-presumably in Washington, D.C. It was a temple excursion for several carloads. On the way to the temple she began to exhibit the characteristics of someone possessed by a demon. She was administered to by her husband and branch president, but the demon soon repossessed her. Administered to again, not long afterwards the demon possessed her again. They stopped to have missionaries labor with her which they did without much success. They telephoned President Ballard, and his immediate thought was, “Here is a mental case.” He gave them some counsel. They continued to “labor” with her and administered to her, and after some time she was in a position to go through the temple which she did without any problem. Afterwards, however, this trouble erupted again and again. Within a few days it was inevitable that President Ballard must see her. He gathered up his four assistants–he was training two new ones–and went to her home where her husband and stake president had administered to her without much success. As he neared the home she yelled out, “Don’t let that man in, don’t let that man in!”

When he reached her he saw a face that was contorted in such a way that she was unrecognizable. She spoke with a completely different voice than her regular voice, a deep voice. She spoke in a different manner than she had ever been known to do previous to these attacks. He asked the stake president to administer to her again, which he did, and they could feel Satan leave her but remain in the room. It was obvious to all of them that Satan was still present. And within a few minutes he was back in her body. Brother Ballard then for the first time felt very certain that this was indeed Satan and not a mental problem. He realized also that he was the ultimate church authority in the region and that was why the stake president was not able to use his authority to banish the demon. Brother Ballard gave her a blessing that he says went on for twenty or thirty minutes, and so evident was it that Satan was there that he carried on a dialogue with Satan rebuking him, and through the woman’s body and voice he countered with threats, with strong statements, with vile and sarcastic statements. But he kept insisting on the authority of the Priesthood and of Jesus Christ and ultimately was able to drive out Satan not only from the body of the woman but from the room completely. After that long blessing the woman, completely exhausted, returned to her normal self–voice, mean, appearance, and so on, and she has had no reoccurrence since that time. Apparently it was effective because he was the ultimate authority who could handle the devil. 

A perfectly normal, intelligent, and rational person, Elder Ballard seems to be completely convinced that Satan is real, that he appears where then is weakness and where his influence is needed to counter-act the progress of the Church and the faith where it is taking place. Since these are the last days and since the Church is making such tremendous progress, he thinks that Satan must be particularly active today and that we must be aware of his activity and potential presence. Elder Ballard seemed to be very sincere and very serious.

[LJA Diary, 11 Nov., 1977]

I am particularly grateful for my LDS Institute training from George Tanner. Having spent several years at the University of Chicago Divinity School, he taught me to be a Christian first and a Mormon second. That is, to put first emphasis on the Christian virtues, and second emphasis to the more unique aspects of Mormonism. There are so many Mormons who give first emphasis to the unique or distinctive doctrines and practices of Mormonism. And this is wrong, very wrong, if we are in truth restored Christianity.

In this connection, I am grateful that George taught me to give priority to the meaning of the scriptures, and to abandon the proof-text use of them. He taught me to read each book of the Bible for its central meaning and purpose, and not for the purpose of finding passages which prove this or that. This is a common defect in Mormon seminary teaching–they teach the student to underline this and that passage, and to memorize proof-texts, rather than to get the central message being conveyed. I shall never forget the exhilaration I felt when I lay on my bunk one Sunday afternoon, during my first year at the university, and read through in the Moffatt translation, the Acts of the Apostles. It must have taken no more than half an hour. I was so excited, so pleased, so spiritually satisfied. And there followed other books, read in one sitting, as it were. I read through the entire New Testament in that manner in a few weeks. And then I read various books in the Old Testament–reading each one as a unit. I purchased the Goodspeed Bible and read those, and re-read some of the New Testament works by Goodspeed. I liked Moffatt for the New Testament, and the J. Powis Smith for the Old Testament. In each case, I read the introduction to each book before reading the book itself so it would be more meaningful. I kept up this habit through my U of I days, and carried it on to North Carolina, and read in these books. Not having the equivalent of a modern translation for the Book of Mormon, I was not so attracted to reading that. I understand there is an equivalent now put out by the Reorganized Church. I must get it.

[Recollection; LJA Diary, 28 Jan., 1978]

Over the weekend I spent most of the time reading Hans Kung, On Being A Christian. I had first heard of this book from Scott Kenney, who had written a review which had later appeared in Sunstone. I had expected to get the book, after his urging (and the urging of Peggy Fletcher, who had learned of it from Scott), but had been so busy with the Knopf book that I didn’t have time to do it. When we received the New Year’s resolutions of Carl and Chris last week and saw Carl’s resolution to read the book, I was jogged to get it, and got it Friday from Deseret Book. Anyway, I read maybe half of it over the weekend and skimmed through the remainder pretty thoroughly. I was very impressed with Kung’s honesty, forthrightness in dealing with problems, and his scholarship. He must have read prodigiously, and must have thought long and hard on problems of Christian theology. Much of it will be useful to me, if I should ever try to do an intellectual biography of myself, or of my generation of Mormons. I was favorably impressed with his point of view on many things. 

[LJA Diary, 30 Jan., 1978]

Mamma and I had a comfortable, relaxed week. Sunday, we attended all our ward meetings; no speaking engagements last weekend. Wednesday I drove to BYU for a dinner with a fine economist, Evsey Domar, a prof at MIT, who was visiting prof at BYU in January. Last night, of course, we saw Lora arrive. I took at “BYU Day” from the office, and Mamma and I went to the temple here in SLC. Left at 11:30, went thru the 12 o’clock session, got out at 3:30, and were back home by 4. A long session. First time Mamma and I had been through the full endowment since Carl & Chris were married, First time in SL Temple since Susan & Dean marriage. I tried to analyze my feelings about the ceremony. Everything was serene and beautiful and peaceful. Long waits but it did not seem to matter. I continue to be irritated a little by the script “It is well.” And “We will go down, Jehovah,” echoed three times. I liked the oaths and covenants of obedience, chastity, and consecration, but continue to be troubled by the execution of the penalty. I like the temple clothing, but wish we didn’t have to shift from one shoulder to the other. Well, this is a candid report which I hope none of you take offense at. It was a meaningful experience for us, and good for us, and we look forward to going again soon. We found Susan’s names but they wouldn’t let us go through with them because they would not wait for the initiatory ordinances. So we’ll try to get back to do them soon. They put a hold on them for us. As we came out and were walking down the tunnel to parking, we were passed by the jitney that carries the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency who had just gotten out of meeting. They all waved at us and smiled broadly, especially President Kimball, toward whom we feel so warmly. He is such a great man!

[LJA to Children, 3 Feb., 1978]

My Most Influential Teacher

By Leonard J. Arrington

(Written for my children in imitation of the series now running in the Church News.)

The third of eleven children in the farm family of Noah and Edna Arrington, a graduate of Twin Falls High School, I entered the University of Idaho at Moscow in the fall of 1935 to study agricultural science. My first contact was with George S. Tanner, director of the LDS Institute of Religion in Moscow, who offered me a room at the Institute. These were depression years, and my family would not be able to support me at the University, and so I had to economize in every way possible. Brother Tanner had organized a cooperative arrangement whereby the twenty-five fellows living at the Institute and seventy-five others living at a nearby University dormitory purchased their own food, did their own cooking and serving, and thus were able to eat three daily meals for a rock bottom cost. My first year at the university cost me exactly $285.38, and this enabled me to earn my own keep.

Brother Tanner m not only helped us with our economic problems, by giving us counsel and help; he also saw that we maintained LDS living standards. And he taught interesting classes in religion. I enjoyed every class he taught and eventually graduated from the Institute as well as from the University.

A native of Arizona, Brother Tanner had been encouraged by the Church Commissioner of Education, Apostle John A. Widtsoe, to attend the University of

Chicago Divinity School. There he received the finest instruction in Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian history. At the same time, he had been well trained in the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Latter-day Saint history. He gave us the finest instruction in all aspects of the Gospel–fully equal in quality and depth with the courses in “secular” learning which we took at the University . The result was that we all kept our spiritual training in balance with our training in religious thought. Many of George Tanner’s students, went on to become bishops, stake presidents, patriarchs, and mission presidents. 

George Tanner’s approach was one of intelligent and sweet reasonableness. When we raised questions about the theory of evolution, about mechanistic psychology, about modern criticism, he responded with long, educated answers that reinforced our faith. Our faith was built on the firm rock of truth. Truth is truth, and the Lord never requires us to believe anything that is not true, he would say. We thus came away from the University with the truths of secular learning and the truths of the Gospel in perfect harmony.

George spent many hours with each of us, individually, helping us with our intellectual and other problems. He was honest, forthright, and intelligent. He was also kind, helpful, and spiritual. He was a great teacher, a kind teacher, and a teacher who is still respected and honored by his students. I am grateful that the Lord blessed me with honorable parents, honorable friends, and with George Tanner, an honorable teacher. 

[My most influential teacher; LJA Diary, 3 Nov., 1978]

Next weekend is general conference. My predictions have NEVER been right, but

I offer a couple. I predict President Romney will go on emeritus status and that Elder Hinckley will join the First Presidency. And I predict that the officers will now offer to stakes a new program of consolidated meetings in which they may do, as Pacific Palisades does, go to all the meetings in one visit. Opening exercises, then Dad to priesthood, mother to Relief Society, older children to Mutual, children to Primary. After an hour of that, then Sunday School for all, and after that Sacrament meeting. Nothing more for the day. This (a) saves energy–only one trip; (b) saves money and time; (c) keeps the family together. Oh yes, two more Seventies, I would predict, one from the South Sea Islands, and one from Brazil. And they may announce a plan to build stake centers and chapels that have temple facilities so as to have temple marriages, baptisms for dead, endowments, in many parts of the world without the expense of building an expensive temple.

With the operation of President Kimball, people are becoming a little more fearful of the kind of administration that may come next, and they are fearful. Lots of apprehension. But I still feel confident. Everybody had misgivings about Joseph Fielding Smith, and his administration was one of the most enlightened we have had. The more I hear of President Kimball the more wonderful and prophetic he seems.

[LJA to Carl and Chris, 28 Sept., 1979]

The responses were as follows:


Wished to make a few comments about spiritual experiences. Recalls reading that Emerson wrote of an experience in which he thought he was being caught up in a giant eyeball, to become part of the infinite. Read in THE SUMMING UP by Somerset Maugham where he had felt a part of eternity during a stay on an African desert. Read much in Protestant and Jewish mystics and has become convinced that for many persons there are two levels of consciousness–two levels of understanding. There is what may be called the ordinary level of consciousness and understanding in which we think, calculate, discuss, reason, contemplate, and reflect. Deep within our consciousness is another level–an inner sanctuary which is more profound, more basic–the level at which we pray when we are most in earnest and most oblivious to the life about us–a level at which we worship when we are most intensely involved–a level at which we are most truly affected by art, music, theater, and literature–most acutely aware of truth, beauty, and goodness.

Leonard’s reading has convinced him that Joseph Smith possessed and exercised this second level of consciousness–he did have visions and other spiritual experiences and gifts. He was also somewhat surprised to find the same about Brigham Young. BY didn’t say much about it, publicly or otherwise, but his diaries, his remarks in meetings of the Twelve and in Prayer Circles, all reveal that he had spiritual experiences of an intense nature and that these influenced his teachings and policies. Ron Walker says the same about Heber J. Grant. Mama and Leonard have had a spiritual experience with President Kimball that made a deep impression on us. 

[Family Meeting held the night of Dec. 25, 1979; LJA Diary, filed 1 Jan., 1980]

Visiting my office this afternoon for an hour or two was Anselm Spring of Germany, near Munich, a member of the Church for 9 years and a friend of Elder Enzio Busche. He is a photographer and asked GEO about doing some photos of Utah and the Mormons. They were not particularly interested, but he did get an opportunity to come in connection with a camera company. When he returned GEO was so impressed with the photos that they asked him to do an article, and so he was sent here on assignment to do an article for which the photos would be used. He has a deep testimony but realizes that he will have to write for the general non-believing reader.

He asked me very specifically whether we had in the archives record of the apostles seeing Jesus. I told him about the experience of Melvin J. Ballard and Charles Callis and told him there were likely others which I hadn’t read. I told him that General Authorities were very hesitant about telling sacred experiences. He was very concerned about this; said that it was his understanding that every apostle would be given a sure knowledge of Jesus as the Lord and Savior, and presumably this meant seeing Jesus. And if every apostle sees Jesus, we ought to have an account of it. He read to me a number of scriptures which indicate that the apostles have the right to see Jesus and to touch him, and that they have an obligation to proclaim this. There was no hesitancy on the part of Paul, Peter, and other early apostles in telling about their sacred experiences. We should proclaim it to all the world and not hide it under a bushel. He read to me very carefully from 3 Nephi 18:17-25.

He also wanted to know the difference between visions and visitations. He thought there was a difference but didn’t recall ever seeing an explication of it. He himself had had visions, he said, and he thought there was a difference between seeing personages in visions and having a personal visitation, as presumably Joseph Smith did in western New York. 

[LJA Diary, 8 Jan., 1980]

As I look back on my reading about religion, which was particularly important when I was at the University of North Carolina in 1939-41, and at North Carolina State College, 1941-1942, perhaps the key reading was in Santayana’s REASON IN RELIGION, which I had purchased at the University of Idaho in 1938-39, and which I had read in at that time, and continued to read or re-read in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. I was struck with the notion that religious truth may be symbolic, like poetry; that religious truth may be like myth, representing an epic which explains matters which are otherwise unexplainable. Santayana offered the possibility of a functional interpretation of truth. Not to be preoccupied with what happened in a historical sense, but to have an explanation which is true like poetry is true, like Shakespeare is true, like great fiction is truth. Moral truth, epic truth, universal truth. We have a Christian epic which is “true,” beautiful, praiseworthy, important to believe and accept. In that same sense we have a Mormon epic, which is “true,” beautiful, praiseworthy, important, and which we can in good conscience accept and believe. 

[Recollections of Religious Reading; LJA Diary, 26 Apr., 1981]

1. Jesus set the pattern for our biographical and historical efforts by coming to earth as a human. Although a divine personage, he subjected himself to all of our earthly problems and pains, joys and frustrations. He did not walk through the world knowing exactly what would happen tomorrow. He did not know with certainty that three days after his death his Father would raise him up. He suffered as we suffer, was taunted as we are taunted, was discouraged as we are discouraged. That he bore up nobly gives us all the more reason to admire him. The future was as much a dread, mystery, and hope for him as it is for us. In this condition, as one of us in the human sense, he set the pattern for us, “not my will but yours.” He taught us how to live, and he could do so because he went through the trials we go through. He laid down his life for those he loved. Christ is known to us only in part. Many areas of life that challenge us were unknown to him: marriage, business, raising children, higher education, etc. So it can be of great help to us, even while having Christ as our divine Savior and model, to choose ideals closer to home, those who seem to us to be Christ-like but who offer examples directly related to some of these other areas.

2. In his book Agape and Eros, Anders Nygren distinguishes between two ways in which the love of God can be conceptualized. The first he terms “nomos” (law) and the second “agape.” Nygren associates nomos with the Old Testament and regards it as the perspective that God’s love toward an individual is predicated upon that person’s obedience to God’s commandments. “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him (Psalm 103:17).” In contrast, Nygren associates agape with  the New Testament and defines it as a type of love that is given independent of the person’s worthiness to receive it. “God commandeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)” Many mainline Protestant denominations have essentially an agape orientation. Catholicism combines both agape and nomos. Mormonism is highly nomos in its nature. “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise (D&C 83:10)”, and “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:21).” Problems arise when perceived obedience does not result in anticipated blessings, or if a person believes that personal unworthiness disqualifies him or her from receiving the blessings of the Lord. A person embued with a nomos perspective often has feelings of guilt and fear, judge themselves harshly for supposed imperfections. A nomos orientation can also lead us to judge other people on the basis of their participation in Church, or their compliance with the commandments. My counsel is, let’s not go too far in the direction of the nomos outlook; let’s move a little in the direction of the agape concept. I guess another way of saying this is that we should not always expect to have a successful personal life, or successful Church life, merely by being cheerfully obedient to what authorities tell us.

3. Having doubts, having fears, having reservations about counsel is not necessarily an opening wedge toward the loss of faith. Indeed, it might be the avenue to renewed faith, deeper faith, greater understanding. “No one truly believes who has not first served an apprenticeship of doubt.” (Will Durrant) This being true, we should be more open and honest–with ourselves, with those we love and respect–about our intellectual and spiritual problems. There is a close relationship between integrity and openness to truth and compassion and love. The attempt to suppress problems and difficulties, the attempt to intimidate people who raise problems or express doubts or seek to reconcile difficult facts, is both ineffective and futile. It leads to suspicion, mistrust, the condescending slanting of data. The more we deny or appear to deny certain demonstrable “facts,” the more we must ourselves harbor serious doubts and have something to hide. However, your optimistic, buoyant father believes it is important, after recognizing that doubts and problems should not be kept back, to not forget the sun for the sunspots. We must also reaffirm the good, that with which we have no problem. We must not be chronic complainers, or always raising questions. A good sense of appropriateness of time and place is important.

4. The longer I live the more sure I become that God has a difficult time getting through to us. Those who rely upon certain scriptural proof texts are not necessarily getting the whole story. Human reason is necessary and desirable, but it needs to be humble, to be open, to realize that it can approach but never be certain of God’s nature and will. God speaks to us through prophets who do not always come through clearly. We are human, not divine; finite, not infinite. Our perspective is limited; it behooves us to avoid smugness and arrogance. We can try to understand, can approach God through the scriptures and the advice of His leaders and directly in our prayers, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff. We might paraphrase the prayer on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Christ said. “Father, forgive us,” we might pray, “for we are doing the best we can but we know that we understand only in part, seeing through a glass darkly.” 

5. Latter-day Saints can learn from reading some of the newer translations of the Bible. And they can learn by reading each book as a unit, rather than simply following the common procedure of going from one verse here and another there to prove a certain point. I will never forget the excitement I felt when I took Moffat’s translation of the New Testament and sat down one Sunday afternoon to read in it, and read through the Book of Acts in a half hour. And what a thrill it gave me to read it through as a unit, like I might have read an article in a magazine. 

[Thoughts about Religion, For the Family; LJA Diary, 11 Feb., 1982]

My reading of Joseph Smith has convinced me that he possessed and exercised this second level of consciousness–he did have visions and other spiritual experiences and gifts. I have been somewhat surprised to find the same about Brigham Young. He didn’t say much about it, publicly or otherwise, but his diaries, his remarks in meetings of the Twelve and in prayer circles, all reveal he had spiritual experiences of an intense nature and that these influenced his teachings and policies. Ron Walker says the same about Heber J. Grant. Grace and I shared a spiritual experience shortly before her death that was about as close to Heaven as I have ever come, and that will always be a precious memory. 

[Remarks of LJA; LJA Diary, 16 Jul., 1982]

This morning I went through a “live” endowment ceremony at the Salt Lake Temple. I went at the invitation of a very close friend who wanted to go through for her own endowment and who wanted me to go through with her.

I was dismayed to find how little of the ceremony I remembered. It must have been years since I went through an endowment session. Could it have been as long ago as when I went through with Carl when he went on his mission? Or when Susan and Dean were married? I can’t believe it could have been that long. But without question it has been several years.

Certain things still irritated me. The repeated use of “It is well.” Also the preoccupation with the signs of the penalty. Certain other things have now been eliminated e.g., the elimination of the flaming sword, and the elimination of the Protestant hymn we always used to sing. I keep thinking that so many beautiful things could be said to make the ceremony more memorable and beautiful and substantive. I think of many people that I would not encourage to go through the temple, who would be turned off by it, who would not get the spiritual lift that it promises.

The building is beautiful–the rooms, the paintings, the hallways, the woodwork and painting and art work. The uniform impresses me as being quite Arabic–or perhaps ancient Greek. The hat, the robe, the apron, all look quite Greek, except for the length of the robe. The ceremony is also quite masonic, and could be improved to make it less so.

Even the prayer circle, which I have remembered as a poignant moment in the ceremony, seemed this time to be mostly a preoccupation with ritual and ceremony, tokens and signs. The prayer seemed to be an afterthought, subsidiary to the principal part which was the performance of the various signs. I had remembered it as a splendid and intimate fellowship in which we joined hands in a solemn beseeching on behalf of the sick. It did not seem that way this time. 

[LJA Diary, 7 Nov., 1983]

I was informed by a friend that Elder Boyd Packer had told a friend of his (or her–the friend) that with respect to historical matters they (Elder Packer and perhaps others) had told Elder Durham, upon his appointment to be Manager of the Historical Department, that he should turn things around 90 degrees. The department was like a locomotive, chugging along in one direction. Elder Durham had made the 90 degree turn, and it was now chugging along in the right direction. And in making the turn no one fell off, and there was no diminution in the speed of the train.

I was also informed that various people in the Religious Instruction college at BYU were fluttering around about my testimony as it appeared in Sunstone; it was not an orthodox testimony, and they didn’t know what to think of this kind of a testimony. Apparently Bill Nelson, Elder Benson’s secretary telephoned the head of church curriculum to tell him to “look into this Arrington piece.” Whatever that means.

[LJA Diary, 4 Feb., 1985]

Last night, Davis Bitton told me that Lou Midgley is now occupying his time tearing apart my testimony, given in an issue of Sunstone a year or so ago. This thought occurred to me this morning:

One’s testimony of the Gospel is an intensely personal thing. Arguing with it is like arguing with his or her choice of a spouse, his or her taste in art, his or her preference for Verdi over Wagner. It is a product of one’s feeling at a particular moment–feeling about God, feeling about the Church, feeling about one’s fellowmen. Above all, it is a product of the spirit of the meeting in which it is expressed–what was said before, what has gone on in his or her life during the preceding weeks, what has happened in the ward, the stake, the mission, the Church–in the city, the nation, the world. 

Normally one does not suppose that his testimony will be published. Above all, one does not express it with the expectation that it will be examined critically–analyzed and taken apart. One consents to publication only because he or she is persuaded that it may be helpful to others who are struggling with their own testimonies. In this case, I have had assurances from several dozen persons that the publication of my testimony, brief and incomplete as it was, was helpful. For that I am grateful. If it has been a stumbling block to anyone, I apologize. If Brother Midgley will visit our Parley’s First Ward testimony meetings over a series of years, he will hear many testimonies given by me, all different, but all expressing my love for God, for Gospel principles, for the Prophet, for our bishop, and for my wife and children. Hopefully, he will then accept me as a fellow Communicant—one who is committed, willing to share, and anxious to improve.

[LJA Diary, 9 Jul., 1985]

A Review of My Professional Life 

Religion to me was not a denominational thing. It was something broader. It was an understanding and appreciation of nature, an understanding and love for people, a spirit of learning and trying to be better. Religion did not mean a set of rules or a body of theology. Religion meant intelligence, enlightenment, wisdom, and being decent, fair, and sensitive to the needs of others. The scriptures that were emphasized were: “The glory of God is intelligence;” “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom;” “A man cannot be saved in ignorance.” And so on.

The high Church officials who visited our stake conferences were men like B. H. Roberts, Orson F. Whitney, James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, Joseph F. Merrill, David O. McKay—all intellectuals. Religion as I absorbed it, was not opposed to intellectuality; religion and intellectuality were companionate, harmonious, and compatible. There was no conflict between learning and religion. There was no Bruce McConkie to tell us otherwise.

I read widely on religion as a boy, as an adolescent, as a student at the University, as a faculty member. If I became an intellectual, it was because intellectuality and religion were the same things, plus being a decent person. I found enormous intellectual stimulation in religion.

[A Review of My Professional Life, prepared for the Bennion Study Group; LJA Diary, 26 Oct., 1986]

Concepts or Theories or Intellectual Constructs that Have Molded My Thinking Throughout My Life

1. “The glory of God is intelligence.” “A man cannot be saved in ignorance.”

“Study out of the best books words of wisdom.” The importance of education, of learning, of study. The law of eternal progression. Joseph Smith.

2. The concept of truth as coming not only from the intellect, from reasoning, but also from “myth,” from poetry, art, fiction, and drama–from feeling. George Santayana and others.

3. The law or theory of evolution. The earth is old, always evolving. Plants and animals are old, always evolving. Even man is evolving, with God’s blessing, toward a better life. Charles Darwin and others.

4. The theory that the economy may achieve an equilibrium at less than full employment. Special action must be taken, when it does so, to stimulate employment of people, capital, and resources. John Maynard Keynes

5. The concept of the unconscious, that our behavior is affected not only by conscious thoughts but by unconscious ones as well. Sigmund Freud and others.

[LJA Diary, 4 Nov., 1986]

Mitchell Heeney Kline, metallurgist, dies at 82

When Grace and I started going to the Raleigh Branch in January 1946 after my return from overseas, Mitchell Kline was the Sunday School Teacher for the adult class. He was teaching early Church history and the life of Joseph Smith, and used as a text the new book just out, No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie. He was teaching it in a positive fashion; that is, to help the class understand just how great a man was Joseph Smith. So my first introduction to No Man Knows My History was positive that is, I got the impression that it contributed to an appreciation for Joseph Smith. When Albert E. Bowen and others started writing nasty things about what they called “the Brodie atrocity,” I’m sure I reacted against it. But my reading of it in the spring of 1946 was a positive, faith-building experience.

LJA, 5 Sept 1987

[LJA reaction to death of Mitchell Kline; LJA Diary, 5 Sept., 1987]

It has been a disappointment to me to realize that not all LDS educators, particularly a few in the College of Religion at BYU and in the seminary system, were brought up, as I was, to believe that there is a close relationship between religion and intellect. My generation benefited from conference addresses by such apostles as James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, B. H. Roberts, Orson F. Whitney, and Joseph F. Merrill, each of whom, in their different ways, told us that the glory of God is intelligence, that men and women cannot be saved in ignorance, and that we should study out of the best books words of wisdom. We were also influenced by the Sunday School and MIA manuals by scholars like Lowell Bennion, T. Edgar Lyon, Obert Tanner, Russel Swensen, Waldemer P. Read, and others, which taught us that the Lord wanted us to search for truths in the scriptures, in the lives of holy men and women, and in the studies of well-intentioned scholars, whatever their profession or religious preferences. Faith, we were taught, was consistent with thought, learning, and the use of the intellect. This is still primary in my belief and in the belief of my friends and associates, but I have seen a retraction from it among various younger educators who give greater emphasis to Scriptural literalism. Listen to your heart, not your head; to your ecclesiastical superiors, not to your own mind; to Church publications rather than works of “outside” scholarship. I regret this tendency. 

[LJA to Children, 21 Oct., 1987]

When I was in high school, as the result of a suggestion in an MIA Manual or a chance encounter at the Public Library, I checked out The Book Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton, which is about the Bible, and The Man Nobody Knows, also by Bruce Barton, which is about Jesus. Both were best sellers, and intended for the general public. I was very much stimulated by them–they provided new insights. Above all, they prepared me to be receptive to the instruction I received from George Tanner at the LDS Institute in Moscow, when I was at the University of Idaho. George (it was always Brother Tanner in those days) had spent two years at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and he oriented us on “the Higher Orientation.” This had been around for about 100 years, but was new to me, as it was to most LDS students. This is the literary-historical study of the Bible, seeking to determine such factors as authorship, date, place of origin, circumstances of composition, purpose of author, and historical credibility of each of the writings, together with the meaning intended by their authors. Professors at the Univ. of Chicago had been leaders in this scholarship, had written several books, and George assigned some of these books to us to read. It was perhaps the most satisfying intellectual experience of my life–to be able to reconcile my religious beliefs with the very finest scholarship. It was satisfying for me permanently because I have derived enormous pleasure through the years reading the Bible as books, as writings, as spiritual narratives, as history, as poetry. I try to keep up with the scholarship also. Yesterday I started and finished Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman, with the very recent scholarly findings. I found the book very informative, stimulating, persuasive, even inspiring. 

[LJA to Children, 24 Nov., 1987]

When I was in the USU Stake Presidency, Wendell Rich, director of the Institute, gave a talk on Covenants which impressed me, and all of us. I’ve seen a number of articles since then on Covenants, and heard several talks. The obvious intention is to get us to live up to our Covenants. And of course this is good. But I would like to say a word about rules, commandments, laws, regulations, and we are supposed to obey them. My reading of the Scriptures, my experience in life, my faith in God, suggests the importance of leniency, God’s leniency with us and our leniency with God. When we make an agreement, a contract, it always ends up being very specific and detailed. One makes these agreements because we trust each other and feel a certain friendship. When the other person does not live up to the agreement, violates one of the provisions, one has a choice: insist on the conditions of the agreement, thus ending the relationship, or going back to the pre-agreement condition. If the friendship endures, they return to their pre-agreement relationship and renegotiate on the basis of what they both wanted to achieve. One can’t write leniency into a contract, but one can write it into his/her heart. This is my view of the relationship between us and God. He lays down certain rules, but He loves us more than the rules and is willing to renegotiate, we give up something He gives up something. It is the same in marriage, in parenthood, in running a business, in running an organization.

I am thinking this minute of some church bureaucrats who administer rules and regulations. One would suspect that if they are administrators they are paid to use their judgment. Some that I knew would not exercise judgment. A rule is a rule and to exercise judgment is to bend a rule. But no rule can apply fairly to every situation, which is why there are administrators. God is the ultimate administrator and clearly He bends rules when other matters enter in that are more important. We should imitate Him when we are in a similar situation-as little administrators of our families, our businesses, our organizations.

Anyway, sermon for the day.

[LJA to Children, 29 Nov., 1987]

Harriet and I were talking the other day about Fast Meeting and Sacrament meetings. There seems to be less telling of spiritual experiences than we remember. Perhaps that just reflects the “sophistication” of Salt Lake wards we have attended. Or perhaps the Church authorities have taken a dim view of some of the stories they’ve heard and have counseled bishops, etc. to minimize the recital of these stories.

By spiritual experiences I mean persons’ experiences with supernatural beings. Visits by angels, by deceased friends and relatives, dreams, visions, that sort of thing. There used to be more of that in our Logan Tenth Ward, and there may be a lot of it in wards in Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, France, and Norway. I wonder about England, Orem, and Hyde Park? Do you have the same impression that Harriet and I do that there is less of that than you remembered from the time you were growing up? One explanation, of course, is the education we get in school—we are less receptive, less believing. Any comments would be welcome.

[LJA to Children; 29 Apr., 1988]

I was just thinking how fortunate I was as I grew up. Because of my penchant for reading and preparing talks and papers, I was introduced, as a student in high school, to new ideas and imaginative literature. In particular, because of Lowell Bennion’s manual for Mutual and Bruce Barton’s books on the Bible, Christ, and Paul, I came to understand that one should look at the Bible, at Scripture, as books, as literature, not just as proof-texts for particular doctrines. When I went to the Univ. of Idaho I had a wonderful Institute teacher, George Tanner, who had been a student in the Divinity School of the Univ. of Chicago, who introduced us to modern “higher criticism” which looked at Bible writings as both texts and literature. I will never forget how excited I was the Sunday afternoon I read the Book of Acts in modern translation. I bought the modern translation and have enjoyed it ever since. I read the Book of Jonah, the Book of Job, the Book of Luke, and so many others, enjoying them as narratives in addition to seeing them as sources of information on doctrine and inspiration.

I also came to appreciate that within our own Mormon tradition, there are various ways of looking at scripture, at history, at doctrine, at commandments. This has been ever so helpful to me. Knowing that I could feel comfortable being a Mormon and accepting the law of evolution; knowing that I could be a Mormon and recognize that the Bible was not without error; knowing that Joseph Smith himself had an “enlightened” and “open” approach to scripture, doctrine, and history. I feel very comfortable in my faith, in my Church, in my beliefs, and have never had a struggle like many people.

Love to all of you, 


[LJA to Children, 14 Oct., 1988]

Today is Sunday and I have been thinking of religious experiences. I have read many personal accounts of such experiences and have no doubt that they have taken place. I have also heard the Oral testimonies of people I believe. I have had experiences that touched me, that persuaded me there are spiritual experiences, but I have never seen God, or Jesus or an angel. I do believe Joseph Smith had visions in which he saw heavenly beings. I’ve read the descriptions of others—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Somerset Maugham, Lorenzo Snow, many others. I believe them. There are people who have experiences that surpass comprehension or understanding. There is more to religion than hymns, sermons, scriptures, and works on theology. One feels a nearness to God, to the divine, to the holy. One cannot describe this feeling very well—it is not entirely rational; it is not intellectual; it cannot be reduced entirely to language.

I have had this feeling several times and know it exists. Examples:

When I’ve first seen James, you, and Susan as babies. I truly believed you were from Heaven!

When I first attended stake conference in Logan Tabernacle and we stood to sing “Come, Come Ye Saints.” I felt part of a heavenly chorus.

When I first listened to President David O. McKay. I really felt I was in front of a heavenly man.

When I saw Mamma come out of the water after being baptized. She had a heavenly beauty and serenity. 

When I sat in general conference the first time as Church Historian. I listened to the Tabernacle Choir right in front of me. I felt we were in a divine assembly.

When I learned of the revelation giving the Priesthood to the blacks. I truly believed God had spoken.

When I joined LeRuth in giving a blessing to Elmer, in anointing him and sealing the anointing. I had no doubt we were speaking to God and He was listening to us.

When I have been reading, late at night, of numerous experiences. Such works as W. H. Hudson, Green Mansions; Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov; the Book of Job; Acts of the Apostles; Joseph Smith’s first account of the First Vision, written 1831-1832. These have transported me into a heavenly atmosphere.

Although I am basically a rational person, and believe in rationality, I also recognize that there are non-rational aspects to life—aspects that are not verifiable by sense experience. One may have experiences that are inexpressible, and they may be more important than the expressible, the rational.

Harriet and I are getting along well. I’m grateful to have her as a companion and “helpmeet.” Life is pleasant and productive. I continue to find enjoyment in Mormon studies, biographies, histories, adventures.

Much love, Dad

[LJA to Carl; LJA Diary, 23 Oct., 1988]

Today, as a by-product of a search for something else, I ran across a box that had the cards I used in my talks on religious themes when I was on the USU High Council and in the Stake Presidency. Perhaps as many as forty or fifty different talks, all delivered in Logan. I realize now that every talk I have given since coming here was on a history topic. Not a single talk with a religious theme. So one goes through different stages in his life with an emphasis on this and then on that.

[LJA to Children, 29 Oct., 1988]

As I get older I recognize more clearly the limitations of the human intellect in its attempts to unravel the mystery of God’s action in the world. Writing good history requires brains, courage, access to archival sources, and appropriate intellectual training and formation. But it also depends on intuition, the daily inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and the inspiration that comes from Sacrament services and individual and collective devotional life. I have not yet come to feel the necessity of frequent attendance at the temple. I think I get as much inspiration watching birds, or looking at the mountains and the wilderness, as participating in the rituals there. The one regret I have is the failure of the Church authorities to recognize that by restricting the use of the archives they are concealing vast riches of inspiration and revelation. 

[LJA to Children, 18 Sept., 1989]

I was just thinking of something to add to my note of yesterday. The Prophet Ezekiel (13:5) said that some prophets, false prophets, were like jackals that did not “go up into the gaps.” The gaps are important; they are the location of things important to both body and spirit. There is something similar in Exodus (33:21-23), Moses is praying and talking to the Lord about his mission to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land. He is confident that the Lord wants him to do so; he is sure the Lord will lead them. But he acts a little hesitant. The Lord reassures him. In the words of the Goodspeed translation, the Lord says:

Here is a place by me; station yourself on the rock; and when my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and cover you with my hand until I pass by; then I will take away my hand, so that you may see my back, while my face shall not be seen.

In the gaps, the fissures between mountains, the icy narrow fiords, the crevices that are not usually visible, one may find the answers to mysteries, the solutions to problems renewal of life, awareness of God and His purposes. Stalk the gaps of philosophy—of history, of social issues, of life’s realities, of God’s blessings. The gaps my change, they may shift, they may even disappear and then reappear. But they will provide reassurance and affirmation, confidence and certitude. Seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you; ask and it shall be given. “Not as the world giveth,” but in a way that will be satisfying, in a way that you can take it with you. Your spirit will be fed, your soul delighted.

The alchemists of medieval Europe searched for a philosopher’s stone—an imaginary substance or preparation thought to be capable of transforming baser metals into gold or silver, and capable of prolonging life. One of them gave a direction for finding it that is worth repeating:

One finds it in the open country, in the village, and in the town. It is in everything which God created. Maids throw it on the street. Children play with it.

May all of you find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything! (Shakespeare, As You Like it)

[LJA to Children, 4 (5) Nov., 1989]

I’ve just been reading the life of Rudger Clawson, an apostle when I grew up–in fact, the senior apostle from 1921 until his death in 1943. I remember him very well—an intelligent man but a very dry speaker. He spoke in a monotone. The biography was by two of his grandsons, both non-Mormons but first-rate writers. They had his journals and letters, but did not use anything in the Church Archives, which denied them use of the key diaries and would have restricted use of some other material–restrictions they were not willing to accept. Anyway, next to the last page of the book are some comments on Mormonism. Here is one: “Mormonism as a belief system does not foster the questioning mind. In most of the world’s religions, there is a realm of mysticism or avenues of thought where religious beliefs can be adapted to individual needs. Mormonism has few if any such avenues.” This has not been my experience. I would say that my spirit of questioning arose from my Mormonism. Questions in Sunday School, in MIA, in Priesthood quorums. Far more questioning than in school, where we were supposed to accept what the teacher said. And I have possessed a questioning spirit all my life and have never found it to conflict with my Mormonism. On the contrary, it led to my writing books and articles that, if they did not betray a questioning spirit, at least were the result of the pursuit of facts and meaning.

The very first book I read on Mormon history, when I was 15, was Joseph

Smith, An American Prophet by John Henry Evans, which was given to me as a birthday present by Bertha Mae Thurgood Hansen, a neighbor. The book portrays Joseph Smith as a person with an open mind, a questioning mind, a person in pursuit of education and knowledge. I accepted this as representing the spirit of Mormonism, and still hold to it. This is the way I have always looked at Joseph Smith in a favorable light and still do.

The authors of the biography of Clawson then go on to quote J. Reuben

Clark that religious faith cannot be rationalized. Well, I have come to the entirely opposite conclusion. Not only can religious faith be rationalized, but it ought to be; every attempt should be made to rationalize it. It can be, without damage to the faith, and it ought to be to keep one’s faith from degenerating into fanaticism, mental unbalance, incoherence, and unsoundness. Well, that’s my testimony for the day. I react against those who see Mormonism as discouraging thought, reason, and intellectuality. I don’t see it that way, although there are certainly some Mormons–those of little faith from my point of view–who join in that. Most of them, I think, are in the College of Religious Studies at BYU, though even most of them are not in the anti-intellectual camp. 

[LJA to Children, 11 Feb., 1990]

I remember a particular Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1935 when, on my bunk at the U of I Institute where I stayed, that I first read Acts of the Apostles in the modern edition of Moffatt’s New Testament. Took me an hour or so. One of the great thrills of my life to read it as a unit, as a story, as a piece of literature instead of as a succession of passages, each one presumed to have a message.

[LJA to Children, 16 May, 1994]

Dear Children:

I was thinking, while watching President Benson’s funeral, of the four great ideas or movements of the last 150 years:

1. Marxism. By this idea I have hardly been touched. I have never had a Marxist teacher or friend, or even acquaintance. I read Marxist literature in connection with my economics classes: biographies of Marx and Lenin, Das Kapital, the Communist Manifesto, various collections of Marxist essays and excerpts. But I did not see any relevance; the theory was faulty, the prescription unthinkable, the assumptions quite wrong. 

2. Darwinism. I was early exposed to Darwin’s theory of evolution in my zoology class as a freshman at the U of I. It all sounded reasonable and proven. George Tanner helped me to reconcile my faith to it, and I have never had a faith problem with evolution. I believe in the ancient age of the earth, in the existence of dinosaurs, in the existence of pre-Adamites (as they are called), and that all of this is consistent with Mormonism, faith, and good doctrine. 

3. Freudianism. Freud’s explanations of the workings of the human psyche have become part of our vocabulary: ego, inferiority complex, passive-aggressive, dream psychology. I never took a course in psychology, but I read several Freudian books, many articles, and listened to some lectures. I finally found an interpreter, influenced by Freud, with whom I could relate: Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who introduced introvert and extrovert, a system of psychoanalysis consistent with religion, and a theory of the unconscious that seemed reasonable.

4. Historical-critical understanding of the Bible. You have probably heard the least about this because, though popular among Bible students and scholars, it has not reached a wider audience. I was introduced to this by George Tanner in 1936, but I have followed it to some extent in the years since. I regret that there is little of it in Mormon literature. The word critical, by the way, does not mean negative but, rather, free of presuppositions or, as in my case, self-conscious about one’s presuppositions. It means understanding the Bible as a collection of writings by many authors over more than a thousand years; they contain different points of view, sometimes contradictory understandings and formulations of the nature of God and our relationship with Him and other human beings. The Bible may be the word of God, but, as we have it, it is the words of Amos and Isaiah, Luke and Paul, and so on.

Nor is the usual credit to various ancient figures historically accurate. Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible, David did not write most of the Psalms, Solomon did not write the Song of Solomon, Paul did not write the letters to Timothy or Titus, and scholars doubt that Peter had anything to do with the books of Peter.

Although the vast majority acknowledge the Bible, much of it is simply ignored. Most put aside Joshua, with its horrifying narratives of extermination, and Judges with its accounts of patriarchy and sexual assault, and Song of Solomon, which doesn’t mention God and has erotic references, and Ecclesiastes with its apparent hedonism. For many, the Bible is little more than an anthology of quotations to be drawn upon as argument or occasion requires. It is a series of proof texts.

From the point of view of the historically-critical method the Bible can be viewed as a historically conditioned anthology—not a complete and infallible guide to the details of human conduct. A series of signposts pointing the way to a goal that its writers, like us, had not yet reached but were moving toward. Their experience of the divine may have been superior to ours, but they were nevertheless human experiences.

Love you,


[LJA to Children, 4 Jun., 1994]

I’ve been reading A Time to Weep, A Time to Sing: Faith Journeys of Women Scholars of Religion. This as background for biographies of Madelyn Stewart Silver and Alice Merrill Horne. Which reminds me that early Mormon women had the intense religious experience of speaking in tongues, something that accompanies genuine, deeply-felt religious experience. I have observed it twice—once in our Twin Falls Ward the French-born wife of one of our ardent members was bearing her testimony and in a moment of enthusiasm spoke in tongues. I thought it was French, but was later told by a former French missionary that it bore no relationship to French. The other was in the Logan temple, when a person got carried away by the spirit and spoke in tongues. Several women in the early church who became prominent spoke in tongues—Eliza R. Snow, Elizabeth Whitney, Zina D. H. Young, and others. Shows the intensity of feeling, the passion, the blessings of the Spirit. My own worshipping is more relaxed, more intellectual, perhaps. Speaking in tongues must be something on the religious side like my emotional encounter with opera—deep feeling and appreciation and a feeling out of myself.

My first experience with intellectualizing my faith came in the summer of 1935 when we had an MIA class that studied Lowell Bennion’s MIA text, Why We Believe. A perfectly wonderful book, still great, and it came at precisely the right time in my life to appreciate and incorporate. Later on he made a book out of it, Introduction to the Gospel, that was used several years in seminaries and Institutes of Religion.

[LJA to Children, 13 Sept., 1994]

I was reading God and the Philosophers the other day and ran across this marvelous quotation from Alvin Plantinga: “Serious intellectual work and religious allegiance are inevitably intertwined. There is no such thing as religiously neutral intellectual endeavor—or rather there is no such thing as serious, substantial, and relatively complete intellectual endeavor that is religiously neutral.” That’s my testimony for the day.

[LJA to Children, 6 Feb., 1995]

During the last few days I’ve been reading God and the Philosophers: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason by different Christian philosophers. Reading it inspired me to write a little autobiographical piece on “Learning, By Study and By Faith,” which Harriet is going to type and which I’ll send off to you for you LJA file. There may be others inspired by other chapters, as I read them. Obviously, I compare my own experience with that of others, as I read, and so am induced to set down my own thoughts and experiences.

[LJA to Children, 12 Feb., 1995]


by Leonard J. Arrington

Born into a devout Mormon home, I grew up in an agricultural “valley” that was predominantly Midwestern Protestant–Mormons were a tiny minority. We were educated in schools that were secular; there were no Mormon teachers. The first class that we attended each morning began with the reading of a passage from the King James Bible and a salute to the flag. We were farmers living several miles from town, so we were unable to attend the LDS Primary each week, and were seldom able to attend Sunday Evening Sacrament meeting. Our one trip to church on Sunday, during the early years in a buggy and later in a Model T Ford, was for the morning Sunday School. I was active in our ward’s Boy Scout troop, one that was organized in 1930, about the time I was thirteen. I attended the weekly M Men and Gleaner Girl class for the first time in the summer of 1935, at which time we studied Lowell Bennion’s manual on Why I Believe. Along with my reading for school classes, I also read some books about religion, including Bowie’s The Master; John Henry Evans’ Joseph Smith, An American Prophet. The Bible and Book of Mormon; and James E. Talmage’s The Articles of Faith. Hungry for some well-written commentaries, I also read Bruce Barton’s The Man Nobody Knows and He Upset the World, about the Apostle Paul.

I went to the University of Idaho at Moscow, where, in addition to my university classes, I also took classes in religion from the teacher at the LDS Institute, George Tanner, who taught classes in Christian history, New and Old Testaments, and Comparative Religions. The most important to me was my introduction to modern translations of the Bible, and I have used the Goodspeed and Smith Complete Bible: An American Translation ever since. (My copy is almost worn out from regular use over fifty-five years!) I have derived much pleasure from that book, but now use The Revised English Bible.

While at the University of Idaho I also read a number of books on philosophy: Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy; Guide to Philosophy by C. E. M. Joad; History of Philosophy by Wilhelm Windelband; Plato’s Republic; an Aristotle anthology; George Santayana, Reason in Religion; William James, Pragmatism and The Varieties of Religious Experience; Spinoza’s Ethics, and perhaps others. None of these created any great intellectual problems for me. I had read some of Lowell Bennion’s manuals, In Search of Truth by John A. Widtsoe, The Vitality of Mormonism by James E. Talmage, and Evan’s biography of Joseph Smith, all of which demonstrated that intellectual pursuits were perfectly compatible with LDS tradition and thought. As I understand it, one ought to combine LDS belief and practice with worldly wisdom and broad exposure to secular culture.

I went to graduate school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In addition to my reading for my graduate classes, I also read books on religion–a biography of Pascal, works by John Henry Newman, Augustine’s Confessions, and some of Thomas Aquinas. There being no LDS church in Chapel Hill, I attended a worship service of the Presbyterian Church and sometimes was able to get a ride to Durham to attend the LDS Branch there. When I was employed to teach classes in economics at N.C. State College in Raleigh, I had more time to read works on religion, and not long after I moved there, an LDS Sunday School group met Sundays in the IOOF Hall. Two families of converts and I were the original attendees. Within several months, additional LDS students came from BYU to attend graduate school at North Carolina State and by 1942 we had a branch.

There was a pleasing continuity between my religious and professional life. The gospel included all truth and encouraged the energetic search for truth. At no time did I experience any great tension between my Mormon upbringing and my exposure to other cultures and ways of life. There was no youthful rebellion, no wrenching intellectual conflict. I had always thought that secular studies were of value, could be harmonized with and incorporated into Mormonism, and I was confident that any problems could be reconciled without difficulty. My mother and father and my friends and teachers led me to emphasize study over personal revelation, and fellowship over individuality. I found no disharmony between my professional study and activities and my religious beliefs and practices.

It was satisfying that many of our LDS leaders were well educated and gave thoughtful sermons. I had listened to and read the works of B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, Orson F. Whitney, Joseph F. Merrill, David O. McKay, Richard R. Lyman, Lowell Bennion, and Henry Eyring–scientists, historians, scholars, and poets, all of them people of faith and devoted to the Church. They demonstrated that one could be a believing, practicing Latter-day Saint in a secular world, and that the gospel could be expressed with eloquence and power. They were sources of inspiration.

Alfred North Whitehead, in Science and the Modern World, I think, declared that science bifurcates the universe; that is, draws a line between what it regards as important and what it does not pretend to investigate. Thus, it ignores the creative activity of the artist, the transcendental experiences of religious mystics, and the aesthetics of nature. How can one separate mind and body, spirit and nature? Although the achievements of science in the past three centuries have been made possible ” by dividing the seamless coat of the universe,” aesthetics, morality, and individual creativity, and the exercise of free agency are of unquestionable importance. So is divine revelation. Whitehead, a leading mind of the past century, was satisfied that there is no need for bifurcation, and I’m sure he was right. Certain that in the last analysis all is reconcilable, harmonious, and consistent, I have confidently integrated my religious philosophy with my secular professional reading. We have minds and should exercise them; we also have hearts, emotions, instincts, and habits. Our friends and associates have a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. We don’t rationally determine all our actions and presuppositions, nor do we internalize everything we discuss with colleagues or hear in lectures. Some intellectual discussions are no more than mind games.

I had met a few months with the Raleigh Branch, and then during World War II, I was drafted into the United States Army and served in North Africa and Italy for almost three years. During that time, I learned of a Mormon meeting only once. I did much reading, but mostly it was of the secular variety: Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Somerset Maugham, Walter Lippmann, Gibbbons’ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Breasted’s Ancient Times, and much else. I also did regular reading in my Goodspeed and J. Powis Smith Bible.

After meeting a few months with the expanded Raleigh Branch after my discharge in January 1946, I took a position as assistant professor of economics at Utah State University in Logan. Shortly after our arrival in Logan, my wife Grace and I learned of a stake conference to be held in the LDS Tabernacle, and we attended the morning and afternoon sessions. This was the first meeting I had ever attended where there was a large congregation of Latter-day Saints. Our Twin Falls ward was small, the Moscow branch was small, the Durham and Raleigh N.C. branches were small, and, as I mentioned, there were no LDS meetings in North Africa and only one in Italy that I knew of. The sense of community with these Logan Saints penetrated my heart; I broke out crying when they sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” “These are my people,” I thought, “This is where I belong–where I feel at home. I hope I remain with them the rest of my life.”

Religion is more than a set of beliefs and practices. It is also a matter of friendly association. Having spent all of my childhood and most of my adolescence working in the out-of-doors on our farm, and having had a father who enjoyed the woods, birds, and animals in the “south hills,” I always had a feeling, expressed so well by Wordsworth, that there are many places where one feels that he is in the presence of God. In the “hills” of southcentral Idaho, the Sawtooth Mountains where our Boy Scout camp was located, the Great Smoky Mountains where our Arrington ancestors lived, and the Wasatch Mountains where we have spent much of our family life, we have felt God’s presence. (I confess that it is more difficult to see God’s handiwork in a world where so much of the natural landscape has been transformed by modern technology.)

In the stake conference in Logan, I had experienced the divine in music, in becoming part of the community of Saints, in adopting the way of life of Mormon culture. The Spirit was present in this community of faith. Being a Latter-day Saint was not just the acceptance of a body of doctrine, it was being part of a community that studied the scriptures, listened to the sermons of sustained leaders, engaged in prayer and contemplation, received the holy sacrament, and joined with fellow Saints in the worship of God. It meant belonging to a community that helped each other and tried to do good. Mormonism, as I have learned, has provided intellectual excitement, inspiration, the opportunity of helping others, and the deep feeling that my writing and speaking have helped to record the building of the Kingdom in these latter days.

Salt Lake City

13 February, 1995

[Learning by Study and by Faith; LJA Diary, 13 Feb., 1995]


by Leonard J. Arrington

During my senior year at the University of Idaho, in order to prepare myself for graduate work, my economics professor and advisor, Dr. Erwin Graue, suggested that I take a course or two in philosophy. We had one philosopher at the university, Dr. C. W. Chenoweth, not a man of great learning or depth but a fine speaker and especially used for philosophy of education courses and meetings of teachers. He gave me a list of books to read. Among them were some essays by Plato. I bought Benjamin Jowett’s The Works of Plato, and read through much of it, including The Republic. I still have the copy I read and find it all marked up with marginal notes. One of these furnishes the inspiration for this little paper.

The Republic is a Socratic dialogue in which Plato presents the ideal state as one in which goodness, truth, justice, and beauty are cultivated. The books ends with a story, called “The Myth of Er, the son of Armenius.” Er, who came from Pamphylia in southern Asia Minor was killed in battle, but he came to life on the twelfth day and related what he had seen in the other world. Er related this story to stress the importance of choosing one’s life carefully. In his life-out-of-life experience Er witnessed a gathering of souls about to be born into the world. They were instructed to choose the life they would lead from among a large assortment available.

A prophet throws out to the souls-about to-be-born lots with numbers; they were to make their choices in the order of those numbers. Some choices would have been taken by the time one particular soul took his or her turn to choose. Those who chose unwisely eventually suffered never-ending torment; those who chose wisely were eternally happy. What Er saw revealed the blessings that await the just and the terrors in store for the unjust.

A subsidiary message in the story is that human life is significantly affected by chance. In handing out the lots, one’s life is influenced by the chance availability of certain lifestyles. While God may have foreknowledge, Plato suggested, this does not determine every event or the manner of its occurrence. Just how one fits into life and reacts to it is mostly a matter of choice, but to some extent it is also the result of chance. I do not see anything wrong with believing this.

There were certainly some chance elements in my life. I am willing to concede the influence of the Lord in healing me through the intercession of my mother of the influenza-pneumonia during the terrible Spanish Flu Epidemic in 1919. I also accept my father’s mission call in 1925 as being inspired, and the spiritual blessing that came to me when they invited me in 1929 to join the substitute Sunday School class in family history. But chance played a role when I discovered I was too small to play varsity football, something I very much wanted to do; chance also played a role in my move from a major in agriculture to one in the arts and sciences and in my decision to major in economics at the University of Idaho. Chance was a factor in my receiving a fellowship to go to Chapel Hill, in being assigned to North Africa and Italy during the war, and eventually in receiving an offer to teach at USAC in Logan.

But to continue with Plato’s parable, there is one aspect of the choice I must have made in the pre-existence, and that was to have a life blessed with good things. All my life, be it due to my parents, to good health, to whatever, I have been gripped by a sense of the goodness of people and circumstances. C. S. Lewis published an autobiography under the title Surprised by Joy. I also have enjoyed the goodness of people, of society, of nature. I have had my share of disappointments and sorrows, to be sure, and I have done things that I am sorry for, and not done things that I wish I had. But over all, I have been surrounded by goodness and hope.

Life has had meaning and pleasure because of faith and reason, but also because of meaningful and pleasurable experiences. Experiences, along with reason, have helped me understand life, religion, and “the world.” As I attended General Conference in the Salt Lake Tabernacle when I was Church Historian I had a powerful feeling of the goodwill and integrity of the people about me–a sense of their contentedness, of their acceptance of us, of the common beliefs and values of all of us. This must be what Plato was hoping for in the state he designed in The Republic. I am sure that people who go to the temple must enjoy a similar feeling of warmth and affection. There is a wholeness, a sense of feeling the presence of something much larger and better than ourselves.

Finally, it seems clear that God honors not only Christians but also those who reach out to Him from Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and other traditions. Our own tradition is elevating, enriching, and redeeming. But others, who follow their own traditions, are surely acknowledged by the same God we worship.

Salt Lake City

18 February 1995.

[Life and the Love of Wisdom; LJA Diary, 18 Feb., 1995]

Some scholars that I know have concentrated on the Book of Mormon. I have never had a desire to do so. But from the time I was in high school, when I read some books about Jesus and the Bible, I have been transfixed by the desire to know more about the Bible. I carried my Goodspeed-Smith Bible with me throughout World War II, and I continue to delve into it, almost every day. (I now use The Revised English Bible.) This desire to keep up with Bible scholarship has continued along with my immersion in Mormon and Western history. My idea of a pleasant evening is to sit down with a new, challenging book about the Bible as literature or as history or as biography. I have a good-sized library of books about religion and the Bible and I am uncertain how to leave them–to USU, to one of you, to the three of you collectively, or just how. Any ideas? 

[LJA to Children, 27 May, 1995]

There is one aspect of my experience at the University of Idaho that is not in the Cornwall biography but which I see as very important. Beginningabout my sophomore year–perhaps even the freshman year–the Universityinitiated a Religion in Life Series under which leading religious lecturerswere brought to the University to give a series of formal lectures and conductinformal sessions that lasted through the week. I am the more amazed at thisprogram in reflection because of the stature of the people who acceptedinvitations to go to Moscow, How did they finance it? At any rate, therewas a group of perhaps eight or ten of the leading lecturers on religionthat went to the University to speak to the students. I do not recall theirnames, except that of Dr. Benjamin Mays, who later became president of HowardUniversity in Washington, D.C. But there were leading Methodists, Baptists,Presbyterians, and Baptists. There was also a Latter-day Saint but I cannotrecall who it was. Whoever, he gave standard conference-type talks and didnot grapple with religious issues as did the others–or at least some of theothers. I was fascinated by these lectures and discussions-by the honestyof the responses to questions, by the willingness to grapple with issues con-fronting students, by the conscious attempt to harmonize religious thoughtwith secular thought. I took full notes on these talks and still have them.I was impressed with the thought, the learning, the images theypresented to inspire us. I listened to perhaps half a dozen presentations andas many informal discussions during the first year, which I think was the springof 1937. And perhaps the same number during the second year, which was probablythe spring of l938. They were talks on the meaning of life, on Christiansociety, on the Christian life, and so on. Talks which made one think andinspired one to a better life, individually and collectively. They excitedme, thrilled me, led me to read thoughtful religious works, introduced meto phrases which were useful in sermons, led me to new scriptures. Really provided many of the ideas I used in my sermons as a High Councilor of USU Stakeduring the 1960s. It whetted my appetite for re1ious thought,but it introduced me to religious images and metaphors, and scriptures which I wouldnever have gotten from my Mormon experience, and gave me an appreciation forthe thought and activity of other Christians. And other religions which werenot Christian. Our equivalent for this were sermons of John A. Widtsoe andoccasional articles by Sterling Talmage and others in the IMPROVEMENT ERA.And in more resent years, by Lowell Bennion.

Looking thru my notes hurriedly, I see notes from a Dr. Overton onHuman Welfare and Human Well Being; Dr. Branton on My Philosophy of Life;Dr. Barnard on Makes of a Religious Mind. I suppose these persons could befurther identified.

I have the feeling that many LDS university students of my generationand a generation earlier who left the Church, really left, not just Mormonism, but religion. And may one reason have been the failure of our faith to preach andteach religion, along with theology and the unique elements of our faith. We learnour own faith and its rationale, the observances, and history, and scriptures.But do we inculcate religion as well? Do we teach man’s relationship to God?Yes, I guess we do, but we could or could have done more with the Christianelements of bur faith–the brotherhood, the forgiveness, the service to othersin general, etc. Fortunately, in our day, BRU STUDIES to some extent, andeven more DIALOGUE, SUNSTONE, AND EXPONENT II provide the equivalent for LDSyoung people–provide the opportunity to have intellectual discussion ofhistory, doctrine, practices, and activity.

[Recollections, Religion and Life Week at the University of Idaho; LJA Diary, 31 Oct., 1976]

My Work with the Seventies

I was ordained a Seventy on 30 April 1947 by Elder S. Dilworth Young. Ibecame a member of the 368th Quorum of Seventy, one of three quorums in EastCache Stake. I was a rather regular attender when I was in Logan. Of course,in 1949-50 I was in North Carolina. I served as group instructor of the LoganTenth Ward group during the years 1951-52. The Quorum included persons fromthe 10th Ward and from the College Hill Branch (later ward), and we met together only once each month; otherwise, we met in our group in the 10th Ward. Our workat that time was not primarily missionary work. Our quorum operated quiteseparately from the stake mission. Several of the leaders of our quorum werebuilders, so we had a project to build a house with the thought that we woulddonate labor and direction, and when the house was sold we would put the amountearned into a fund to support missionaries in the field–both members of ourward and branch and persons in other countries. We did begin construction ofthe house in 1951 and the house was completed at a time when I was senior president of the quorum, about 1954. We made about $2,500 profit on the house, perhapsmore. At any rate, we began to support one missionary at the rate of $50 permonth; and soon, another at the same figure. Both were Logan people. Later,we supported a person from the College Branch, and still later one in Argentina.During all of the period I was a member, we always supported one or two personson missions from this fund.

In addition to the house project, we had various projects at the StakeWelfare Farm. I recall on one occasion we bought a heifer; on another, somefeeding equipment.

I was made a president of the quorum in June 1951, and became senior president in March 1953, and continued to serve as senior president until my ordinationas High Priest on September 1, 1959. I particularly enjoyed working with theSeventies in the College Branch (Utah State University Stake was organized inApril 1958). And when my call came to work in USU Stake, I was very pleased.

The college student-seventies were energetic, enthusiastic, supportive in ourWelfare Farm activities, and indeed many of them were stake missionaries. Forthe rest of us–the older ones–most of our work was in connection with theWelfare Farm. There were also some years that we had a Christmas tree project–got out trees and sold them, with the profits going to our missionary fund. Irecall various occasions when I went to the lot we had use of to help sell thetrees.

I should perhaps explain that East Cache Stake consisted of Loganmembers east of Third East Street all the way to the mountains and south asfar as the “Island,” that is, the hill that slopes down to Logan River. Virtually all University professors and married students lived in this stake. As far as I am aware–East Cache Stake, in creating the Canyon Heights branch (laterCollege Branch, later University Ward, later University Stake) created the firststudent branch in the Church, and this provided the precedent not only for the creation of the ward attached to USU but also the precedent for student branches and wards all over the Church. Because the stake was composed to a considerableextent of university people it was therefore more “progressive,” more “liberal,”more “intellectual,” than most stakes in the Church. USU, until the last 10 or15 years, was pretty much a second BYU in the sense of having about 72 percentLDS students and about the same percent of LDS faculty. I counted up one timein 1964 for a talk I had to give and found that 33 members of the faculty were atthat time serving or had recently served as bishops; that is, members of the facultyat that time. This does not count persons who have died or moved away.We had a high degree of activity among LDS faculty members, certainly far higherthan LDS downtown businessmen or laborers. Also a high degree of loyalty. A considerable number of persons from Logan had been called to be General Authorities–John A. Widtsoe, Albert E. Bowen, Marriner W. Merrill, Alma Sonne, Theodore Burton,Elray Christiansen, and others. So the emphasis in the stake was on education andleadership. It was an active, lively stake with good leaders and we had, as Imentioned elsewhere, an active Tenth Ward.

[LJA Diary, 15 Dec., 1976]