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Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Dialogue”

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1.  Member of Board of Editors, Pacific Historical Review

2.  Advisory Editor, Dialogue:  A Journal of Mormon Thought

3.  Membership Committee, Economic History Association

4.  Awards Committee, Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters

5.  President, Mormon History Association

6.  President, Cache Valley Chapter, Utah Historical Society

7.  Visiting Summer Professor of Economics and History, Brigham Young University

8.  Visiting Professor of Western History, University of California, Los Angeles

[LJAD, “Other Activities” of LJA, 1964- 1966]


12 November 1967

Experience in California confirmed that the creation of the University wards has contributed immensely to the happiness and spirituality of the University students.  L.D.S. Student Associations, being formed, seemed to be improving the relationships between the various LDS organizations involved in campus activities.  We had the opportunity of meeting often with both the UCLA and SC groups, but there are something like 100 other small units at various city and state colleges in southern California.

Would also like to testify to the importance and effectiveness of the L.D.S. Institutes in Southern California.  They are doing a fine job in helping the LDS and other students to relate religion to their studies and the campus life around them.

One interesting phenomenon was the rather considerable number of study groups, or discussion groups.  We had the opportunity to meet with perhaps 15 or twenty of these groups in the Los Angeles area.  They meet, usually once a month at somebody’s home, usually Sunday evening after Church, to discuss aspects of the Gospel in an informal way; in particular to discuss so-called controversial topics that are not covered in Sunday School or Priesthood and Relief Society lessons.  As far as I could ascertain they are not divisive; they help build faith and increase knowledge.  The new magazine Dialogue is very useful to some of these groups in relating their faith to the current problem of society.

[LJAD, talk given in Stake Conference, 25 September 1967]

There are two churches.  The visible, temporal church and the church of the underground.  The latter is an intellectual, spiritual, political, or other communion of kindred souls.  It has existed from the early days of the church, as the revivalistic fervor of the founding was replaced by preoccupations with getting land financing enterprises, and establishing programs.  Adults have an underground church in the form of neighborhood groups, family groups, professional groups, study groups.  Students in universities have a functionally related church program thru the university wards and stakes and branches and smaller clubs.  High school students have nothing.  They belong to a ward, which is not “theirs.”  Dominated, controlled by adults—different generation.  They prepare manuals, teach the classes, administer the programs.  The classes are primarily stereotypes of unreal problems?  Occasionally, a seminary class.  Occasionally a SS class, Occasionally a priesthood group.  But teachers who are willing to direct a candid dialogue are few; the administrators who will permit a teacher to do so are even fewer; students who are articulate enough to bring out a meaningful dialogue are not plenty.  So how about Dialogue.  An underground newspaper!  A dialogue of youth!  An opportunity to perform a real service for the young.  High school as the place where we really lose our youth. Not before—too young to be aware.  Those who are still saved from H.S. are saved by the Univ. wards and stakes, LDSSA, etc.  High school students in trouble often drop out in college, but the trouble was earlier.  Non-college attenders often drop out later, but the trouble was earlier.  The crucial period, high school.  Need an underground church to solve the problems, to conduct meaningful dialogue of the honest kind that wouldn’t be appropriate in S.S.  Kids afraid to raise questions that might get back to their parents from the teacher, the bishop, the other kids, etc.  So a mission for Dialogue!

[LJAD, diary entry, 18 April 1969]

Letter of Richards Durham, Institute teacher at Ogden, from Ogden, May 28, 1969 to William E. Berrett.

Speaks unfavorable of Sterling McMurrin, and then:

In case you haven’t heard (which is funny indeed), Sterling’s claque—including many of the old-timers—have joined together—that old campaigner Leonard Arrington being “voice” this time—and in the last issue of their journal DIALOGUE have invested him with the title of “greatest living Mormon intellectual” all of which is just about the most screamingly funny thing since Caligula had himself proclaimed “God”!  And if possible and even funnier—in about two days this same Leonard Arrington is going to be given the David O. McKay “Humanities Award”—by the Brigham Young University!


In this sense you can’t help but admire a few of your crowd who are beginning to come more and more explicitly into the open, for example, Leonard Arrington and Lowell Bennion who are not only willing but anxious to be listed as “Advisory Editors” of DIALOGUE magazine, and again, for example, Richard Poll (the pride and joy of the History department at the Brigham Young University), who after destroying—substantially as a “hider”—the faith of hundreds of youngsters who have come under his tutelage—courageously comes out into the open and establishes his own negative faith in a DIALOGUE piece dealing with the difference between “Liahonas” and “Iron Rods.”


At the moment, for example, good old Sterling (McMurrin) is being wheeled out (again) by this same group and is being identified as the “greatest living intellect in Mormonism”!  (See the Leonard Arrington comedy bit in the last issue of “DIALOGUE.”)

[LJAD, diary entry, 28 May 1969]

When I came home from Salt Lake City on Thursday I brought back Bob Rees, the new editor of Dialogue.  He spoke to a little group here.  He’s on a money-raising tour.  Dialogue is in real financial trouble and various ones of us are helping the cause.  He reports some $18,000 in contributions, which ought to insure Dialogue’s continuance for another couple of years at least.  $5,000 from Gene England’s father, $3,000 from Willard Marriott, and $1,000 each from several persons and $100 each from a lot of professors.  We donated $100, as did Del Gardner, Gary Hansen, Doug Alder, and others around.

[LJAD, letter written to Carl Arrington, Sunday 6 February 1972]

After the talk, Grace and I rode with Delsa Olsen (Mrs. Ralph) and a friend and daughter to Honolulu.  Checked in at Hawaiian Regent.  Had lunch in The Surf, then went to International Market.  Met LeRuth at 3 pm and drove to Laie.  Went first to Ralph Olsen’s for a meeting with Dennis Agle, who is applying for a position as administrative assistant to Historical Department of the Church.  Then to Ken and Delma Baldridge’s for dinner.  Had a nice chat with Ken.  Then to the reception for us at CCH.  We met Sister Pack, who edits the English-as-a-second-language magazine and is an authority in the field.

Opening prayer, Ken Baldridge.  Pres. Steve Brower conducting.  He introduced me.  I tell of my hope to write an article on the “Internationalization of Mormonism” and the impact of the visit to Hawaii on me.  Tell of the organization of the Historical Department and the tasks we have set out for ourselves.  Answer questions.  Then proceed to summarize in 30 or 40 minutes my paper on “Crisis in Identity:  Mormon Responses in the Nineteenth and 20th Centuries.”  Then questions afterward.  One question was about RLDS historians.  Another asked for a comment about Dialogue.  Another about the availability of materials in the Church Library and Archives.  We remain to talk about an hour and then take our leave of Laie, drive back to Honolulu with LeRuth.  Winston rode to Laie with Bishop Basso and rode back with us.

Found our beds turned back.  Orchids on our pillows, and small candy bar on the bed table. 

Perhaps because Dialogue is “controversial” I should record the comment I made.  I said I was well acquainted with those who launched and edited Dialogue, and they were all fine loyal, active members of the Church.  That the journal contained many fine articles that were important for the historian to read.  That while I had contributed articles to Dialogue, it would be improper for me as Church Historian to declare support or non-support for it.  That while there were articles in it that I enjoyed and others with which I disagreed I thought it an important source of items about church history, both contemporary and for earlier periods.

Many persons afterward commented on this response and said it was just right.  And this seemed to come both from regular readers of Dialogue and from others that had been suspicious of it.  In particular, Dog Brinley, head of the Honolulu Institute of Religion, said it was an appropriate, accurate and proper comment.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, 21 May 1972]

Davis and Jim Allen and I talked for a while this afternoon about the invitation to Davis and Jim to have their pieces published in Courage.  We debated at some length the politics of our publishing articles on Church history in various journals—Ensign, BYU Studies, Dialogue, professional historical magazines, etc.  We agree that it might not be politic to publish in Courage at this time. 


[LJAD, LJA Diary, Thursday, 17 August 1972]

Davis Bitton told me today at lunch that two or three weeks ago a friend of his who instructs the High Priests in one of the wards in Salt Lake asked to borrow a copy of the first issue of BYU Studies in which my article on the Word of Wisdom appeared, and said that they were going to use that article as the basis for the High Priests’ lesson on the Word of Wisdom.  I have also heard of a number of instances in which my paper in Dialogue, “Blessed Damazels,” was used as the basis for a Relief Society lesson.  What a change in the aspect of affairs!  I should recall in this diary that the appearance of my Word of Wisdom article in the BYU Studies caused consternation in BYU official circles and they suspended the magazine for one year.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Monday, 28 August 1972]

Jim Allen and I went up to see Elder Paul Dunn about the question of royalties and advances on royalties on the books we publish in our sesquicentennial and Mormon Heritage Series. . . .

On one occasion several years ago the Board of Education met and Brother Benson raised the question of BYU staff members publishing in Dialogue.  He thought that they should not do so—that they should be prohibited from doing so.  It was clear from the discussion that about half of the brethren were in favor of supporting publishing in Dialogue and the others were opposed to it.  Brother Benson saw this cleavage, this division and brought his hand down firmly on the table and said that he though this kind of thing should be done—he thought that Dialogue should be burned.  President McKay, who had said nothing during the discussion suddenly stood up and said, “Let me say this brethren, that this Church is not about to burn any publication. We have no business burning books and if we should burn a publication of this nature then to be consistent we ought to burn some of the books of] brethren in this room who have published books.”  So that ended the discussion. 

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Wednesday, 20 September 1972]

Dialogue came out over the weekend with my article on Joseph Fielding Smith as a Prophet.  I’ll airmail a copy to Carl.  In general, I liked the issue very much, but feel very uneasy about Tom Alexander’s article.  It was bad taste to include editorializing material and also in bad taste to attack some BYU brethren with conservative political philosophies.  If I would have known about it, I would have counseled very strongly against the inclusion of those paragraphs.  It is far better to make a point subtly than to editorialize as this one does.  I am sure the publication of this will cause us trouble—not very good judgment used in this case either by Tom or by Jim Allen who edited this special issue of Dialogue.

[LJAD, letter to Carl, Susan and James, 9 October 1972]

Brother Anderson read the proposal for the Joseph Fielding Smith Church History Award.  President Lee was very concerned about students doing research on confidential topics and about the publication of essays on sensitive topics announced as award winning.  President Lee seemed to be very concerned with this matter and mentioned four examples of the kind of problem that they are facing:

4.  There were other controversial things that were being brought to his attention.  For example, a large manuscript on the Negro question by a brother, which President Lee had asked Brother Packer to study.  President Lee said that unfortunately this study quoted from the minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve that had gotten into the papers of an apostle, and he had been unwise enough to let it go to BYU library.  (Of course, I knew all about this.  It was among the minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve of Adam S. Bennion, and the person doing the study is Lester Bush.)

President Lee emphasized that ours is a private archive and not a public one, and that we do not wish confidential materials to be made generally available.  He also deplored the tendency to pick out speculative documents in the Journal of Discourses to advocate.  He said that the Presidency had followed a policy of clearing the topics of theses to be prepared at BYU, and he thought we should clear the topics on which students will do research for the papers that they submit.  He said that there is a philosophy that we ought to be critical in our writings so as to make accommodation to the Jack Mormons and non-Mormons and dissenters.  This had been the policy of the editors of Dialogue.  President Lee said that he discerned a more conservative turn of Dialogue in recent issues and he thought that this was praiseworthy.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Tuesday, 30 January 1973]

In our meeting with Brother Anderson on Tuesday, I happened to mention Dialogue—I am not certain in what connection.  Brother Anderson said, “You surely wouldn’t be having anything to do with Dialogue, which you know is under a ban.”  I said I wasn’t aware that it was under a ban.  I said so far as I was aware the magazine was conducted by faithful Latter-day Saints and while the magazine is not sponsored by the Church, I certainly would feel more friendly disposed toward Dialogue than toward all the magazines published by non-Mormons.

Brother Anderson began to retreat a little and said that he had understood that some people had their fingers crossed about Dialogue.  I said no doubt there were people that had their fingers crossed about it, but that before Dialogue was inaugurated the editors consulted with at least one member of the First Presidency and got the okay.  I also told him that when I was asked by Dialogue to be an advisory editor, I consulted individually with two members of the First Presidency, both of whom advised me to accept the appointment.  Moreover I mentioned that I knew all of those who had founded the magazine and knew very well their purpose.  I knew that all of them were faithful LDS and continued to hold such offices as presidents of elders quorum and members of bishoprics while carrying on the work of the magazine.

Brother Anderson asked how Dialogue was doing.  I told him it was not doing well financially at all and that subscriptions were falling and it didn’t look like they would succeed financially.  I told him that if there had been a ban on the magazine it had been kept so quiet that nobody connected with it had known it—that I personally did not believe there was such.  Brother Anderson seemed to accept what I said without much argument and concluded the conversation by saying, “Well, of course, we don’t want to give the impression that the Church is supporting the magazine.”  I told him, “Of course not, nor does Dialogue want the Church to give the impression that the Church is supporting them.  It is an independent magazine and wants to remain such, but we must not neglect the fact that it is a magazine by and for Mormons and we ought not to be hesitant about making use of it as all of the other magazines which made no pretense of being a Mormon magazine.”

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Thursday, 19 April 1973]

Bob Rees came in this morning and we chatted a little about Dialogue.  He said he had sent copies of the last three issues to all of the General Authorities and had received replies from eight.  Favorable replies were received from President Tanner and Theodore Burton and Hartman Rector. He received no negative replies.  There was a reply from President Lee—perhaps neutral but certainly not negative.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Friday, 27 April 1973]

Brother Anderson discussed briefly the meetings of Dialogue and said that we must avoid giving the impression that the Church or the Historical Department sponsors or supports Dialogue.  I pointed out to him that Brother Davis Bitton for several years had been book review editor of Dialogue.  Earl asked specifically whether we ought to ask Davis to resign from this position.  Brother Anderson said no, that Dialogue seems to be having enough trouble without us creating additional troubles for them.  I pointed out that I am a contributing editor for the Ensign, that Brother Allen is a contributing editor for BYU Studies, and Davis the book review editor of Dialogue, and that this made it possible for us to be aware of everything that was being published in the field of Church history.

[LJAD, LJA Diary, Tuesday, 1 May 1973]

Brother Arrington reported having received an invitation from Dialogue magazine to publish in their magazine a talk he gave in one of the Annual Lectures at Brigham Young University on the role of humor in our lives, in which was included sections on Latter-day Saint humor.  He asked if there would be any objection to his doing this.  It was decided to discuss the matter with the advisors in the meeting with them this afternoon.

[Minutes of the meeting of the Executives of the Historical Department, 25 Jun., 1974; LJA Diary]

Yesterday at 2:00 p.m. Earl, Don, Elder Anderson, and myself met for one and one half hours with Elders Hunter and McConkie. Two items affected my own work. First, I asked them for permission to publish the humor article in Dialogue. They replied with a flat no. The reason they gave was that they did not want a Church official dignifying Dialogue with articles they have prepared. They told me members of the Church would reach the conclusion that if articles by official Church appointees were published in Dialogue this gives a semi-official approval of the publication and of other articles in it.

[LJA Diary, 26 Jun., 1974]

Regarding the request of Dialogue magazine to include in their publication a talk recently given by Brother Arrington, it was the feeling of the advisors that to grant their request would tend to dignify a controversial publication, and recommended that their request be not granted.

[Minutes of the Executives of the Historical Department, 2 Jul., 1974; LJA Diary]

Over the past several weeks I have had telephone calls from John Reed, an employee from Hill Air Force Base, a non-Mormon who says he is planning to do an article for an eastern concern about the Mormons. I have tried to be very careful, cagey, and cautious in my remarks to him and have no evidence that he is taping my conversations, but hope everything will turn out all right. I have tried to be friendly and helpful without giving him anything that would later prove to be embarrassing to myself or the department. Today he said he had been reading Dialogue Magazine and read my articles, which he found interesting and tried to discuss the matter with people in the northern Utah area. He found everybody keeping hands off, not wanting to admit that they knew of it or had read it or had approved of it. He said that considering my appointment and my previous relationship to Dialogue, “Could it be that the bishops are more Catholic than the Pope?” 

[LJA Diary, 30 Aug., 1974]

Yesterday afternoon from 2 pm to 3:45 pm the executives of the Historical Department met with our advisors from the Twe1ve.  There were present Elders Hunter and McConkie, Elder Anderson, and Earl, Don, and I. . . .

Some of the specific points brought out in that discussion in the Twelve were:

There was some criticism of the continued heavy involvement of Historical Department personnel in Dialogue.  Witness the Maureen Ursenbach and Davis Bitton interviews with Juanita Brooks and the Davis Bitton collaboration in the article on phrenology.  I pointed out that the Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach interview with Juanita had been conceived many months ago, even before their employment with the Historical Department, that Dialogue was behind in its publication, that they had talked with me about whether to go ahead with it or withdraw it, and I had told them to go ahead with it. Both Brother Hunter and Brother McConkie said they agreed with this advice; that it would have been more damaging to have asked them to withdraw a piece than to have allowed it to be printed. There was a general feeling that we should be less involved in Dialogue, to avoid any impression that the Historical Department was placing a stamp of approval on Dialogue, and to avoid a tendency for us to dignify the magazine by contributing regularly toward it.  After the meeting, I asked Maureen to withdraw, for the time being anyway, her article on Eliza which she had submitted a week ago.  She agreed to write a letter to Bob Rees to this effect immediately.

Brother Hunter said they had discussed “Claudia Bushman’s Women’s Lib magazine, Exponent II.”  No further remarks on this. . . .

Earl asked whether the last paragraph of Elder Packer’s letter meant a recommendation that we should channel all of our material through the Correlation Committee, or did it mean there should be a reappraisal of the programs in general.  Elder Hunter said he thinks Elder Packer would like to see both.  That is, he is very fearful of the sesquicentennial history project, and would like to see it discontinued.  Also that he couldn’t see why everybody else had to go through Correlation, but we didn’t.  Both Brother Hunter and Brother McConkie reacted negatively to both these suggestions.  Elder McConkie declared, with strong emphasis, “We have to write history.  We cannot avoid that responsibility.  And as long as we have to do it, we have to get competent professional people.  We cannot expect it to be done by an 8th grade Sunday School teacher or someone not trained.”  Elder McConkie said all General Authorities had been sent copies of the recent issue of Dialogue, and he had read the Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach interview with Juanita Brooks and the Bob Flanders article on the new history.  He said he could see nothing wrong with the former, and he was very interested in the latter.  He mentioned that Flanders had mentioned my book, Great Basin Kingdom, as an example of the new history.  And he assumed this was an attempt to improve upon books like Essentials of Church History by Joseph Fielding Smith, which gave more or less a one-sided view of our history.  He assumes this means that in writing our history, Flanders would recommend giving the side of the Missourians and the Illinoisans, as well as that of the Church.  He commented on this without any pejorative connotations.  In discussing Arrington and his work as an example of the new history he was not necessarily saying it was bad or the wrong thing.  I made no comment myself except to say I also had read the article.

[LJA Diary, 27 Nov., 1974]

Two things to report. The first is that Maureen received a letter of appointment as a writer for the instructional development group in the Church.  The letter indicated this was a Church service position. She was to resign all other Church positions and it was signed by Bruce McConkie, Boyd Packer, Marvin Ashton, and Tom Monson. Maureen is now a Sunday School teacher with her husband Dale in her ward. We were all delighted with this appointment.

Later during the morning I learned that a condition had been attached. This was apparently passed on from Bruce McConkie to Earl Olson and from Earl Olson to me. This condition was that she not publish any articles in Dialogue or Woman’s Exponent II or be involved or associated with them in any official capacity during the period of her appointment which is “indefinite.” The indefinite appointment suggests that she may be asked to write other manuals in addition to the Relief Society manual which she is to direct for the coming year.

Under the appointment she is to write a series of lessons about outstanding historical Relief Society personalities. This first draft is to be finished by May and the complete work is to be finished by September. At that time she may or may not be released from the group.

I told Earl that I was sure Maureen would comply with the requirement. Maureen, of course, has had her article on Eliza R. Snow as an enigma accepted by Dialogue and they had planned to publish it in the next issue. She was pleased that it was to be published there. However, she telephoned Bob Rees and asked him to withdraw it. In consultation with me she suggested three possibilities as a replacement for her article: (1) Larry Foster’s piece on the origin of polygamy in Nauvoo; {2) Kathryn Hanson Shirts’ artic1e on Mormonism and revivalism; (3) Phyllis Southwick’s paper on Emmeline B. Wells  given at the University of Utah.

The most peculiar thing is that all members of the Twelve had signed her appointment before she had made any commitment in regard to Dialogue and Exponent II.  If the appointment was conditional, why didn’t they wait until she had been contacted and had agreed?  What if she had gone ahead with the article in Dialogue.  Basically this shows a certain confidence in our own policing and disciplining mechanism which is positive.

[LJA Diary, 17 Dec., 1974]

Maureen brought Gene England in yesterday and he wanted to talk with me at considerable length about the reasons for withdrawing Maureen’s piece from Dialogue. I told him that in my judgment it would not be wise to make an appeal on this. That I wanted to leave it on an ad hoc basis and not force a situation which would establish some kind of a rule that I would have to follow in the future. Gene is looking for a job here. The University of Utah will not hire any committed Mormon in English. BYU would be willing to create a special slot to employ him but Neal Maxwell does not want to go to the board with a special slot bearing his name on account of his former Dialogue association. USU is not hiring. Weber College will probably offer him a position beginning January—I guess January of next year. The trouble with Weber is that they have no experience with hiring people at a reduced teaching load so they can do research and writing. Gene thought he might take a part-time job–say two-thirds at Weber and allow one-third for research and writing. I suggested he talk with Joe Chrisensen about possible employment at such terms at the Institute of Salt Lake City. Gene said he would do so. Gene would like a fellowship with us–not for this summer probably but for next fall and ask me what he could do for us that would be helpful. I am to discuss with Davis and Jim something he might edit or write and possibly something which might be published under our auspices.

[LJA Diary, 31 Dec., 1974]

Dialogue Magazine

Brother Arrington called attention to the latest issue of “Dialogue” magazine, which lists Davis Bitton as a member of the Board of Editors. His name has also been listed as a member in previous issues. Brother Arrington stated that this is an error. Brother Bitton has communicated with the editors of the magazine requesting that his name be removed from the list of the board, that, however, they have failed to do this. Brother Arrington stated that Glen Leonard’s name is also listed in the magazine as a contributor, but this too is an error. Brother Arrington said he would talk privately with the editors regarding this matter. He stated that included in the magazine is an article by Larry Foster, who had a fellowship with us. The fellowship, however, was not in connection with the article published in “Dialogue.” 

[Minutes of the Executives of the Historical Department, 20 Jan., 1976; LJA Diary]

The media issue of Dialogue came this week. I hope you two subscribe and have your copy by now. It’s a great issue. Many articles you’ll be very much interested in, and enjoy reading. Paul Swenson’s article on the Deseret News is great–sort of behind-the-scenes look. So is Fred Esplin’s article on the church radio and TV network. Just great. Lots of other interesting things. The next issue is already printed, but they are holding it up to put in an article on the Book of Mormon Spaulding controversy. We’ve cooperated in furnishing them materials, and it will appear under Lester Bush’s name. It will be a good article, I’m sure, and will be one of the first to discuss the issue in some detail. Mary Bradford was here this past week and we had a good talk with her. She’s doing a good job, with Lester Bush’s help. And others, of course.

[LJA to Carl & Chris, 29 Jul., 1977]

There are two aspects of church bureaucracy which seem both inevitable and

inexcusable: the blacklist and the guilt by association. If a person has incurred the enmity or distrust of any member of the Twelve, or if any member of the Twelve has at any time regarded him/her as a questionable person, the member of the Twelve will vote against him for any position. Once this has happened, his name will never again be presented, because of the likelihood that the member of the Twelve will continue to vote against him/her. (And of course one negative vote is enough to deny approval.) He is therefore not approved for anything and somehow the word of this blackballing gets to the bureaucratic heads, and so even at lower levels he/she is not recommended. This has happened to a number of people that I am aware of. Perfectly loyal people, perfectly trustworthy, devout people. The best example is Eugene England, who, as founding editor of Dialogue, incurred the enmity and distrust of Elder Benson, and has been denied the right to publish in The Ensign, to publish with Deseret Book, to serve on the staff of BYU. Voted town at least twice with all of these. Only when a man gets a vigorous champion who keeps arguing for him can this be overcome.

The other aspect is guilt by publicity or by association. A person gets his name in the paper, or in a magazine in connection with some questionable affair. He/she is not guilty, nor has anyone said so, but somehow he was “involved.” A general authority phones his boss or bishop or someone to ask about him. This is enough to brand him. A bureaucrat or bishop or stake president will assume that if the General Authority calls about him, he has questions about him. If he has questions about him, we better go slow in advancing him, If they go slow, there must be reasons for it, so other people take the cue. He is branded just because the church authority asked about him. Asking about a person signifies he is controversial, questionable, of doubtful loyalty.

[LJA Diary, 2 Feb., 1978]

I am weary of having to function in a position where I cannot be open and completely honest. I cannot “level” with Elder Durham because he is so fearful that he would prevent me from doing anything worthwhile. I cannot level with our advisors from the Twelve because they would run to the Twelve with every little problem and they would discuss it without anyone there who knows anything about it. I cannot level with our research historians because they would all quit–or tell others and thus put us in disrepute. I do level with Davis and Jim and that is one consolation. I suppose this is in the very nature of bureaucratic rule. But the atmosphere of arbitrary action, of apoplectic reaction, of fear of leveling with the body of the church and the public at large is so at war with my notion of church government that it disturbs me. I had none of this feeling at Utah State. And I did not feel it so oppressively until now. Elder Dyer was boyant, ebullient, and confident; Elder Anderson was serene and calm. He had confidence in us, exuded that confidence in working with the advisors, listened much and talked little, had complete confidence that the Lord was pleased and that all would go well. I think my pessimism arose as Elder Durham took over. Here is a proven administrator of long experience and training as an administrator who generates distrust, who reacts to every little problem as if it would shake the Kingdom, who is not a good listener, who takes action before really understanding the problem. Since he took over last April, I have developed real doubts about my calling and our policies. I am almost to the point of throwing in the towel.

It seems to me that we have the following things going against us:

First, our association with Dialogue. Dialogue was (is) an anathema to Elder Benson and Elder Petersen, and they can never forgive us for our associations with them before our appointments. It they saw evidence of our association with them today, they would press for our release. . . .

[LJA Diary, 18 Feb., 1978]

It finally became clear to me yesterday why Elder Petersen has always had questions about my loyalty and orthodoxy and judiciousness. Elder Petersen has always given extreme emphasis to the Word of Wisdom. Some people have asserted that he was a fanatic on the subject. I would not say that myself, but it is true that a disproportion of the editorials of the Church News which he wrote dealt with liquor and tobacco. At any rate, I suddenly remember that Elder Petersen had seen my article in BYU Studies on the economic interpretation of the Word of Wisdom and had been at least partly responsible for suspending BYU Studies for a year after its publication. So he remembered my name from that experience. Finally, I understand why, when discussing historical writing with me, he always brings up the Brigham Young using tobacco business. He just can’t erase from his memory my having done a heinous thing, letting people know that Brigham Young used tobacco. 

[LJA Diary, 30 Apr., 1978]


7. I regret the ukase [?] which prevents us from making the contributions we should to Dialogue magazine. Dialogue is making an important contribution to LDS culture and we should be represented in it more than we are. 

[Reminiscences; LJA Diary, 14 Sept., 1978]

I told Conway [Sonne] I’d heard a story that his brother Richard, as stake president of Palo Alto Stake, had tried to dissuade Gene England from publishing Dialogue. Conway responded rather fully and said that when the matter had come up Gene had gone to the stake presidency and they had decided to present the matter to the high council. Conway was a member of the high council and he was among those who spoke up and said, “If we were to tell these people they could not do it, it would be the best thing in the world to insure their success. It’s something that we simply must not do.” At any rate, the high council did vote not to take any action, either to encourage or discourage. Gene had been regarded as somewhat of a “radical” or “reformer” in the area because of his concern over the Vietnam War. It wasn’t simply his private believe that the war was sinful, but he took advantage of the situation to express his views strongly during testimony meetings and firesides and sacrament meetings, and his lack of judgment was not sitting well with many people in the area. Richard was fearful that Dialogue would feature polemical articles by Gene and other people. They felt it would become an organ of propaganda or opinion which could not be expressed in Church magazines. So it was not so much the idea of Dialogue as it has come to be that was being discouraged but simply the fear that it would be harmful to Gene by reflecting some of his private opinions and biases. 

[LJA Diary, 29 Jul., 1980]

I learned last night that last week Earl Olson had approached Debbie Lilenquist in a very stern manner and instructed her to not be listed any more as one of those assisting Sunstone. Debbie explained to him in a very polite manner that she had not done any of the work on office time–that it had all been done on her own time and that she had been occasionally paid for secretarial help. She didn’t think it was any of his business what she did with her own time, but she didn’t tell him so. She tipped off Bill Slaughter and Randy Dixon, who presently also had visits from Earl, somewhat subdued this time, asking them to explain their participation and whether any of it was done on the job. They assured him it was not, that they were very careful to avoid doing anything for Sunstone while they were working here, and that they had leaned over backwards not to favor Sunstone in connection with requests for photos. Earl then simply told them to be careful not to do anything on the job or to violate the rules of good taste. Earl then went back to Debbie sometime later and told her simply to be careful and that she needn’t discontinue being listed by them if she didn’t wish. Debbie said after that experience she wouldn’t have had her name removed for anything. 

[LJA Diary, 8 Sept., 1980]

I had a Conversation today with a couple of people about Sunstone. I had expressed the opinion that Peggy Fletcher was now to be pitied because she lost Allan Roberts to help her with Sunstone. These people, who seemed to know the story from the inside, thought that Peggy Fletcher, psychologically and financially, was better off as the result of Allan leaving. His drain on the resources was heavy and he and Peggy did not agree very often on editorial matters so that there was an internecine battle going on most of the time. He is a very bright person and very well trained in high school, but his college training was in graphics. He hasn’t had philosophy, history, or literature classes, none of the courses or fields of study that would he helpful in editing a magazine like Sunstone. Even the article which won the prize for him of the MHA was largely done by Susan Oman and Peggy Fletcher. They wrote three drafts of it and provided the documents, etc. Allan had not thought the theological symposium was a good idea or would be a success. He did not approve of articles which he disagreed with, even if they were well written, represented a point of view prevalent in the Church, and were well documented. Peggy’s health problem–the way she abuses her body–is not a result of Sunstone as much as a result of her own practices and predilections. She was not eating properly long before Sunstone came along. Psychologically it ought to be easier for her and Lorie Winder and Susie Oman to run Sunstone now.

[LJA Diary, 18 Sept., 1980]

Reminiscences: Connection with Dialogue

At the time we were considering the formation of the Mormon History Association–in fact, well before–we thought there ought to be a Mormon History journal. BYU Studies was not publishing much by way of Mormon history, the Improvement Era would not take scholarly articles, and the regional journals (Utah Historical, Idaho Yesterdays, Pacific Historical, etc.) would not do very much Mormon history, particularly institutional history. We thought of starting a journal called Latter-day Saint History or Latter-day Saint Historical Journal, or something on that order.

About 1964 or 1965 I sat next to Eugene England on a plane and he talked about the plan of a small group at Stanford to start a new journal, to be called Dialogue. We discussed it at some length. Gene England promised that if our historians would submit articles to Dialogue instead of starting our own journal, he would promise to run the articles often and provide a good outlet.

When we had our first meeting of the MHA in San Francisco, I mentioned this to those assembled and they ratified a proposal to submit articles to Dialogue for the time being and to shelve our plans to do a journal of our own.

When Dialogue started in 1966 they asked me if I would be an Advisory Editor. Conscious that I was a member of the presidency of USU Stake, I discussed this with President Reed Bullen. He said he had no objection. First Counselor Wendell Rich also said he had no objection. Both recommended, however, that I consult with the First Presidency. I thereupon wrote President Hugh B. Brown and asked for an appointment to discuss the matter. He replied that he was very busy, and probably could not spare the time necessary to discuss this in detail, but that he would contact President Harvey Taylor of BYU and ask him to discuss it with me. President Brown said he had great confidence in President Taylor, and that whatever advice I received from President Taylor should be regarded by me as equivalent to advice from the First Presidency.

I wrote to President Taylor and asked for an appointment and was granted one for a certain date–don’t recall when. I drove all the way from Logan to Prove (3 hours) for the specific purpose of meeting that appointment. We spent about an hour talking. Basically, President Taylor’s advice was to accept the appointment. They will benefit from your advice, he said; and if people like you don’t counsel with them, they may depend on persons who are less committed to the Church.

Upon my return, I replied favorably to Dialogue. Dialogue did consult with me occasionally, though not always on matters they should have. Basically, they were not locking for advice but for the goodwill of the historical community as the result of using my name. They asked me to edit a special Mormon history issue (No. 3).

The second issue of Dialogue carried an article I was not consulted on and had not advance warning on: an article by J.D. Williams on Mormon Church and State Relationships. The article was not friendly to Elder Ezra T. Benson, and I knew it would cause trouble. It did.

I was told by President Bullen, on a confidential basis, that Elder Alma Sonne, assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, that Elder Benson had planned to recommend me to become president of the Italy Mission. Indeed, my name had been cleared for that purpose and they were almost to the stage of interviewing me to make the appointment. Then came the article by J.D. Seeing that my name was connected with a publication so anti-Church, as Elder Benson viewed it, he removed my name from the call, and from that time my name has been on his black list.

A few months later, Elder N. Eldon Tanner was speaking to our USU Stake. He was at the time a member of the First Presidency, counselor to Prest. McKay. After one of the sessions I took him aside, told him briefly about the Dialogue relationship, suggested that it had caused me problems with General Authorities, and asked his advice. President Tanner asked me if Dialogue asked my advice. I replied, “Occasionally.” He asked if they took my advice. I replied, “Occasionally.” He then said that whether or not I should resign ought to depend on whether I feel that my influence-for-good with the magazine is worth me lending it my name and advice. If I’m convinced that I’m helpful to the Church by sticking with them, I ought to do so. If I’m not so convinced, I ought to discontinue. I decided to continue with them, and told him so. He said, “Fine.”

So, whether or not certain Church Authorities felt I was tarred with the brush of “independent thinking,” I felt that I had the approval of the First Presidency for my course. I remained with Dialogue until my appointment as Church Historian in 1972. At that time, without asking advice, I unilaterally decided to resign as advisory editor, and have remained off the masthead since that time. I have, however, felt free to publish two or three articles in Dialogue in the past nine years. 

[Reminiscences: Dialogue; LJA Diary, 29 Mar., 1981]

Because of the medicine to dewater her, she did not go with me last night to Provo to the JFS Institute Lecture, delivered by Ron Walker on Rachel Grant, mother of Heber J. Grant. A splendid lecture. I rode down with Ron and Lani Walker, who were good enough to come by for me, and had a nice experience chatting with them. I encouraged him to submit the piece to Dialogue and I believe he will. I should think Dialogue would go for it. Incidentally, the JFS Lecture I gave last month, I sent to Dialogue and their tentative feeling is that they’ll use it, but of course they need to have it read by others and have that feeling ratified. 

[LJA to Children, 10 Apr., 1981]

A little more information on the Lavina firing episode. After the appearance of the “leak” in Sunstone in regards to the succession of Joseph III document, they suspected Lavina of being the source. Somebody called that suspicion to the attention of Elder Ballard who called in Church security. Church security began opening her mail and, Lavina thinks, they tapped her phone. That is how they found the material in the letter addressed to Randy Dixon.

Peggy Fletcher of Sunstone had noted that there was a difference between Elder Rector’s talk in April conference and the version of his talk that was published in the Ensign. She asked if she could see a copy of his talk to compare it with the published version. This would save her copying from a tape of the conference proceedings. In all innocence (!) Lavina sent to Randy the wrong draft of Elder Rector’s talk. It appears that Elder Rector, well in advance of the conference, had prepared a talk which had gone to Correlation and which had not been cleared by them, so the talk was considerably altered by the time he gave it in conference. Then there was a further alteration of the revised conference talk after it was delivered. Instead of sending the revised draft given in conference Lavina sent the very first draft which was of course an improper thing for her to do.

Randy Dixon was involved in all this quite innocently. He did not know a letter was coming from Lavina when Lavina phoned him a day or two later and asked him “did you get my letter?” He replied, “what letter?” I suppose Lavina sent it to him in order not to be sending anything directly to Sunstone.

After Lavina was “caught” and fired Church security called in Randy Dixon and grilled him for some time but of course he didn’t know anything about it. Randy was almost fired from Church employment but I suppose they did not do so because they were persuaded he was indeed quite innocent. Elder Durham then called Randy in and told him that he would have to cease his connection with Sunstone. He has now resigned from the staff. Bill Slaughter was called in and told the same. He has also resigned. Peggy Fletcher had to run down to the press to take both their names off the masthead before the issue came out. Richard Oman was called in by Elder Durham and strong hints were made to him that his wife Susan ought to resign from Sunstone but of course they could not order this and she does not expect to do so. Richard assured Elder Durham that his wife was not subversive.

Elder Hugh Pinnock, President of the Sunday School, called on Peggy and asked her to eliminate the section on Sunday School lessons in Sunstone. This was giving the impression that the Sunday School somehow was sponsoring or welcoming this section. Peggy did agree to change the title so as to avoid giving that impression.

It is very clear that the Brethren are suddenly down on Sunstone and somehow view it as an insidious threat. Peggy has already determined:

A. That she will not frequent the Church Office Building.

B. That she will not run as many Church History articles.

C. That she will make fewer requests for photographs.

Elder Durham has threatened to make the photographs unavailable to Sunstone, but as of this minute has stopped short of that decision (it would be ineffective anyhow as so many of the photographs are already out). 

[LJA Diary, 23 Jun., 1981]

I learned that Elder Hugh Pinnock, General Superintendent of the Sunday School, asked Peggy Fletcher to eliminate the “Sunday School Supplement” in Sunstone. He (and presumably others) felt that title gave some official endorsement. She agreed to change the title but insisted she would leave it in.

[LJA Diary, 6 Jul., 1981]

I have heard little more with respect to the Lavina Anderson firing. Jay Todd was very strong on her during the first year or two she worked there. Jay, who is not particularly smart, then began to see that she was a threat to him–she is very ambitious. He began looking for some reason to get rid of her. Finally he decided to look through the drawers in her desk. He found a number of incriminating things–close association with Sunstone. Thinking that she might be passing on some confidential material to Sunstone he had her mail monitored and that is how he found the letter for which he summarily fired her. When someone raised the question with him about her being given a hearing his immediate reply was simply, “That is not the way the Church does things.” (Presumably, I am thinking, the way the Church does things is to monitor one’s mail!) 

[LJA Diary, 27 Jul., 1981]

Dear Children,

James already knows of what I’m going to write about, so I’m sending this only to Carl and Chris and Susan and Dean.

One of those significant events, milestones, epoch-making happenings, has occurred at BYU this week, and it is possible you will not hear of it except for this letter. An independent newspaper has been founded at BYU. Called the Seventh East Press, it expects to come out once a week. It sells for ten cents a copy, and something like 1200 copies were sold last week. It was well received. The founders, Elbert Peck and Ron Priddis, are both students at BYU. One of them sold his car to get the money; the other got a loan with his car as security. Neither student is a journalist. The paper is on sale at the BYU Bookstore and in newspaper venders around town. Students are also selling the paper at apartment complexes.

The paper, in the first issue, had a headline “Elder Packer Counsels Historians.” The last of August Elder Packer had given a talk to seminary and institute teachers about teaching church history. Not a word has appeared about it in the press until this. Resembles the talk he gave a few years ago on rock music; later another on modern art. Now history.

The paper also has a story on the fact that the Raintree Apartments requires applicants to have bishops interviews first. It carried some brief news. I learned, for example, that Omer Kader, an Arab Professor of Government at BYU, chosen by Blue Key Club to be professor of the month, but the BYU administration turned them down and they had to choose another one. Also Duane Jeffrey, professor of zoology (and a graduate of USU and formerly our mission president in USU stake) was chosen by the Honors Program to be professor of the year. The administration turned him down because he wrote an article for Dialogue on Science and Evolution (a great article), and Honors had to find another suitable professor for the honor. Pretty damaging. And welcome to have this information. If it proves embarrassing to the former administration at BYU (Bob Thomas, administrative v.p.), so be it.

Anyway, a pretty important development. Of course, it may not pay financially and may go the way of many such papers. But in the meantime, we’re getting some fresh air at BYU, and it will be interesting to this historian to see what is revealed next.

I’m sending along a few items, and may send some in weeks to come if any seem significant.

Love, Dad 

[LJA to Children, 10 Oct., 1981]

Last Friday, as I recall, the women’s issue of Dialogue came, and I spent much of Friday and Saturday reading it. A really great issue—lots of fine essays. Also came Exponent II and I read many articles there. Judy Dushku has a prize-winning essay, as well as good essays (in Dialogue) by Maureen Beecher, Laurel Ulrich, Lavina Anderson, Carol Madsen, many other friends. There was one essay by a Sister Laney on the death of her husband which hit my tender spot and I sobbed the whole way through, thinking of Mamma and her last hours. First time I’ve sobbed since the funeral. Maybe good for me. 

[LJA to Children, 5 May, 1982]

We got to BYU in time to hear the video replay of Tuesday’s opening session of the University Conference. Hal Eyring was eloquent, most effective and impressive in his presentation. But we had really gone to hear Jeff Holland discuss his report of his stewardship and views of the university. Very emotional. Very important.

Background: the word is that upon reading the program for the Sunstone Symposium (held last week at Hotel Utah) they were very upset to see a long list of BYU people involved. Increasingly some of the apostles have come to see Sunstone and Dialogue as “the enemy” and to feel that all who support them and contribute to them are working at cross purposes with the Church. Jeff was, it is said, called in, soundly thrashed, and told to get his house in order.

Whether that happened just that way or not, it is clear that Jeff’s discussion of faith and scholarship this week had for him more than passing importance. He talked at some length and then shifted gears. To the press, “if you are here,” this is off the record, he said, “and I have not yet decided whether this will be published or not. This is for internal use only.”

Spoke about these being difficult times and that each of us must consider what it means to defend the Kingdom. (Quoted a passage from Luther that Gene England had used about the church as a city surrounded by death, that each of us have a certain post on the walls which no other can fill “but nothing prevents us from calling out encouragement to one another.”) The Brethren, he said, do not intend to tell us how to carry out our stewardships, but they have a right to look to us as allies and to see strength and assistance when they view us–certainly not that our guns are trained on them. Reviewed at length President Hinckley’s spring remarks at the Hawaii campus, stressing that as we continue our search for truth, we are to look for strength and goodness rather than weakness and foibles.

There is only one string attached to our $100 million appropriations per year, stressed President Holland, and that is to know that we are their allies in the battle to save souls. “Of course we have different opinions, different perspectives, with each other and with the Brethren; I have had differences with them. But I have not written a book about it or gone on television to proclaim it.” He has gambled everything in his administration on the premise that we can be academically great and still be unequivocally loyal to the gospel and to the Church, he says. To the new faculty he stresses that we will be great not at the expense of our faith but because of it. “Any one feeling compelled to embarrass the Brethren over matters of history or government or doctrine should not plan to do it here.” Too much has been given by far too many to allow even one or two to foul the BYU mast and flag.

Choices have to be made here. What is at stake is the very idea of a transcendent university, a work that has barely begun. We want to know all the world knows but other things as well. We all share responsibility for this university’s future.

It is hard to quarrel with the vision of the University that Pres. Holland presented; I don’t know anyone who wishes to. But as a practical matter it is not so easy. It is too bad the Brethren are presently so sensitive about these things and so distrustful of scholarship. Most of what went on at the Sunstone Symposium, for example, was not negative or critical of the Church; from reports I hear several sessions could only be described as uplifting, even faith promoting. The same can be said for much of the content of the two publications presently in disrepute. But there repeatedly are enough bad examples to reinforce the Brethren’s distrust of the whole endeavor and to cause them to see all involved in it as “the enemy.” That is unfortunate and, if there were advocates and better communication, unnecessary. In the meantime we do the best we can in this environment and do what we can to contribute to more trust and better dialogue. (Not that all that parades under the guise of scholarship and intellectual inquiry should be defended; but the process seems under a cloud and that must be remedied.) 

[Jeff Holland Address (Ronald K. Esplin notes); LJA Diary, 31 Aug., 1983]

Ron Walker telephoned this morning to report on an aside in Jeff Holland’s talk to the BYU Faculty last Thursday. Near the end of his talk, Holland said, “I want to make an off-the-record statement [this to 2,000 people and another 10,000 potential viewers on radio and television]. The church is in a period of difficulty; many of the brethren have been ill and incapacitated, and [by implication] the church is in a leadership vacuum. Some of you are writing things critical of The Brethren. I want you to quit it. Those who write things critical of The Brethren will not last long at BYU.”

Ron understands that this is probably a reaction to a meeting held a couple of days earlier in which The Brethren called Holland to account for the considerable number of BYU people that participated in the Sunstone Symposium. One would suppose that the age-old enemies of historians—Roy Doxey, Tom Truitt, Calvin Rudd, Bill Nelson—went through the Symposium program, jotted down the names of BYU professors participating, and called this to the attention of Elders Benson and Petersen and Packer. These then dressed down Jeff Holland in a very forceful way. Ron understands that he was lashed so heavily that he was ill the next day.

I go thru the program myself and find the following BYU people on the Symposium program:

Eugene England, Gary Gillum, Joyce Woodbury, Arthur Bassett, Michael Graves, Steven C. Walker, Tom Alexander, John Tvedtnes, Marilyn Arnold, Maureen Beecher, Leonard Arrington, Stan Albrecht, Howard Bahr, D. Michael Quinn, Ed Kimball, Bruce Jorgensen, Georganne Ballif Arrington, Marvin Hill, Tom Rogers, Ann Edwards-Cannon, Stephen Ricks, Alan Swanson, J. Bonner Ritchie, David Whittaker, Todd Britsch, Reba Keele, and perhaps others whose affiliation is not mentioned. 

These are 26 names; I heard from a friend there were 37 from BYU. Of all those, I personally do not know of a single one who was “critical of the Brethren” or who has other than a deep attachment to the Church and its leaders. 

Ron says that he is not going to let this pass. He will try, during the coming week, to see a vice president or President Holland himself to proclaim the loyalty of the historians and others who write about the Church. I told him I had no objection if he did so.

[LJA Diary, 3 Sept., 1983]

I learned more yesterday about the on-going church controversy over history. In the meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve on Thursday, September 1, Elder Packer commented that the Church ought to do something to prevent the Sunstone Symposium; it was damaging because it generated criticism of the General Authorities. No person picked up on the comment, however, so there was no discussion and no action taken. Apparently, others present either thought there was nothing that could be done, or nothing that should be done, or that the comment was unfair. In any case, Elder Packer, in this instance, seems to have been a lone crusader.

I learned also that Elder Haight had been assured by some friendly persons that Sunstone wasn’t anti-Mormon. It was an open forum, and things were said and written that might be regarded as anti-Church. But the objective was an open forum, not the perpetration of anti-Mormon literature, All concerned were active church members. Apparently, Haight later corrected another person who had reportedly made a statement in his presence that Sunstone was anti-Mormon and said that it was merely non-Church, not anti-Church.

I learned also that a vice president of BYU had been challenged about the “anti-history” statement of Jeff Holland in his talk to the faculty. The vice president said the BYU administration had full confidence in the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute, and that Jeff’s remarks were not intended to be applied to history at all, but to the drama department. And perhaps Gary Browning as well, who had published a friendly Russian article in BYU Today.

[LJA Diary, 9 Sept., 1983]

Apparently Wendell Ashton was over for an oral history interview with Gordon Irving on Tuesday. Gordon mentioned the Sunstone Symposium, the Wednesday evening program, the Jan Shipps presentation, the presence of reporters from L.A. Times and Time, etc. Wendell had a subsequent meeting with President Hinckley and urged the prior publication by the Deseret News. Matter being considered. Then Friday Wendell learned the Salt Lake Tribune was planning a lengthy piece for the Sunday morning newspaper. Written by Steve Easton. Wendell had another conference with President Hinckley, then went to work on a story. Contacted the Tanners, Ron Walker, Jerry Cahill, Homer Durham. Got Steve Christensen to give him an interview. Wrote the story, had it approved, got it to Deseret News about half an hour before their deadline to get in the Sat. a.m. paper. Looked good. People will feel o.k. And this lets Dean Jessee, Ron Walker, and Steve Christensen off the hook for their eventual publication.

Ron Walker says he gave the interview (about one hour) with Steve Easton for the Tribune because the only ones who would talk with him were the Tanners and the anti-Mormon people. Ron thinks the Tribune piece will not be anti-Mormon. Ron says after the Deseret News piece this morning Easton called him no less than three times in order to verify information, so they could get it first hand and not have to quote the Deseret News copyrighted piece. 

[LJA Diary, 1 Sept., 1984]

MORMONS: Intellectuals Gaining Acceptance, but Only by Struggling

Los Angeles Times; 1 September 1984

By John Dart, Times Religion Writer

SALT LAKE CITY-A small movement of Mormon intellectuals is starting to gain some church acceptance, even though its prodding of sacred cows sometimes sends shocks through the membership.

More than 1,000 attended the recent sixth annual Sunstone Theological Symposium at the Sheraton hotel here, exceeding the previous high registration of 750 people last year. Sunstone’s two publications, along with the separate journal Dialogue, have been in the forefront of the Mormon intellectual movement.

The conferences and publications are viewed by some Mormon Church leaders as negative exercises undermining and destroying faith, if not fomenting apostasy. 

But But Peggy Fletcher, a seventh-generation church member who runs the Sunstone Foundation, said she hears at least once a week from people who stop by the Sunstone office here or telephone “to say if it weren’t for the magazines they would feel lost and alone.”

Conflict With Church

Fletcher, who won a skirmish with the church hierarchy last year, insists that the efforts of Sunstone and Dialogue have the reverse effect of what traditional Mormons fear.

Rather than undermining belief or loyalty, she said, the magazines and conferences provide and outlet for questions and thoughts not usually received sympathetically at the local levels of the authoritarian Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

L. Jackson Newell, co-editor of Dialogue with his wife Linda, said they get frequent calls from people who say they could not remain active church members if it were not for the quarterly journal. “I feel that the church would lose its intellectuals if it weren’t for Dialogue and Sunstone,” Newell said.

There are signs that Sunstone and Dialogue are being tolerated grudgingly for doing things the institutional church cannot do: boldly reexamining church tradition, giving liberals a chance to talk among themselves and encountering unofficially the often unfriendly outside religious world.

A threat from high church echelons seemed to pass last year.

In the spring of 1983, an aide to church apostle Mark Petersen, since deceased, began asking the bishops of people who were writing for Dialogue and Sunstone, mostly the latter, about their church dedication.

When Fletcher’s bishop was called and she learned of it, Fletcher went to a high church official to complain. It was learned later on good authority, she said, that the Council of Twelve Apostles was asked to lay off and, indeed, the calls abruptly ended.

In High Places

Also, among recent appointments in the church hierarchy, two General Authorities are former members of Dialogue’s editorial board, including Dallin Oaks of the Council of Twelve.

Another new General Authority, attorney John Carmack, noted last week in an interview that when he was the Los Angeles Stake (diocese) president in the late 1960s, the Dialogue editor then worked on his stake staff.

“The church is mission-oriented, and it has not been part of the church’s self-perception to write critical articles about itself,” Carmack said. “It almost has to be done by someone quite free of the institution, and this can be advantageous to the institution.”

Carmack added, “I think theology is fair game for anyone in the church. As long as these people speak for themselves, I think we have no quarrel with them.”

Carmack said he spoke only for himself, but his comments were believed to be the first public expression of support for Sunstone and Dialogue from a member of the church hierarchy.

Thus, the independent intellectual forums are seen as a safety valve for a 5.5-million-member church that puts a high premium on university education and that, theoretically at least, says a true faith can stand new-found truths.

The Sunstone and Dialogue publications have an influence beyond their small circulations and uncertain financial futures. (Sunstone is about to combine its bimonthly magazine, less than 6,000 circulation, and its tabloid monthly Sunstone Review, about 3,000. Dialogue has less than 4,000 paid circulation.)

In addition, however, they tackle subject matter deemed too controversial to handle under official church auspices.

Parts of a fundamentalist anti-Mormon film, “The Godmakers,” which has stirred disputes in Western states since its January, 1983 release, were shown and critiqued during the Sunstone symposium—thought to be the first time the movie was publicly screened by a Mormon group.

Ed Decker, an ex-Mormon evangelist, provided the film and was joined in the audience by a scattering of others who admittedly engage in efforts to challenge Mormonism’s religious validity.

The Mormon critiques were largely negative—not unexpected but they were also relatively dispassionate. One of the speakers, Donald A. Eagle, Arizona regional director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, described the efforts of an interfaith committee in Mesa, Ariz., to warn the public of what the group felt was unfair and denigrating representation of Mormons.

Policy, Doctrine Studied

The most significant effect of the Mormon scholarship, however, may be in its critical examination of church policy and doctrine.

The Newells said several articles that appeared in Dialogue in the early 1970s found that Mormon history and doctrine does not really preclude blacks from the Mormon priesthood, a common early step for young males eager to advance in church ranks.

“That fact made it easier to embrace a much-needed change,” said Newell, referring to the 1978 announcement by Church President-Prophet Spencer Kimball that black males could enter the priesthood.

Whether women face real scriptural or doctrinal barriers to the Mormon priesthood was the topic last week at one of the Sunstone seminars sponsored by Dialogue. Jack Newell started the session by noting the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (RLDS), a smaller church with roots in the early Book of Mormon tradition, approved the priesthood for women earlier this year. 

“It seems reasonable that this will ultimately become a reality for us,” Newell said. But he cautioned those present not to take an advocacy position that might force others to a staunch defensive position.

Jack and Linda Newell, in an interview, said that the stereotype of a Mormon is that of an uninquisitive conformist in beliefs and religious practice. “There is a lot more diversity of thought among Latter-day Saints than meets the eye,” Jack Newell said.

Intelligence Revered

Linda Newell added that a much-cited line in the church is that “the glory of God is intelligence.” Non-Mormons who say that anyone belonging to the Mormon church cannot possibly be an intellectual have a very narrow view, she said.

It is generally acknowledged that there are a fair number of Mormons who like the social and family values of Mormonism while holding doubts on standard religious beliefs.

The content of this year’s Sunstone theological symposium was often provocative, although its effect was softened by carefully worded presentations.

In an unusual “pro-family” paper, psychologist Marvin Rytting of the combined Indiana-Purdue University campus in Indianapolis argued that Mormons, who once believed that polygamous marriage was entirely natural, should not deny the possible stability that marriage would give to homosexuals who want a sense of legitimacy. Rytting reminded his listeners that society also once outlawed interracial marriage and discouraged interfaith partnerships.

The symposium opened with the first public discussion by historians of emerging evidence of the Mormon founder’s interest in treasure-hunting and magic. 

One letter, written in 1830 by Mormonism’s first convert, spoke of a “white salamander” that turned into an “old spirit” to temporarily prevent Joseph Smith from getting the golden plates, which church tradition says contained the Book of Mormon.

A second letter, written by Smith in 1825, spoke of hidden treasure that he thought must be guarded by “some clever spirit.” 

The existence of the second letter was not confirmed immediately but by the end of the conference, historians with inside knowledge learned the Smith letter is being studied and is considered authentic. 

Not all the symposium speakers were theological provocateurs.

A paper on Mormon sexuality by Eugene Shoemaker of Sacramento recounted his experiences in dealing with confessed sins of homosexual behavior and masturbation during his two terms as a bishop of the church. His claims of a successful rate in obtaining repentance were greeted skeptically by the paper’s respondent, Dr. Jess Groesbeck, clinical director of Utah State Hospital.

In another session, Harvard- and  Duke-educated Keith Norman summarized the biblical and early church debates over the divine and human nature of Jesus, then suggested that Mormon studies use the fruits of contemporary biblical scholarship to develop a more intelligible “Mormon Christology.”

But the traditional conservative reaction against higher biblical criticism was reiterated by Kent Durford, a church institute instructor in Salt Lake City who earned his doctorate at church-run Brigham Young University. In his brief response, he emphasized the belief that biblical criticism tends to discourage faith.

Because Sunstone’s Fletcher gives more frequent voice to ideas disturbing to a conservative church, she said she has felt pressures that the Newells have not felt in the 2 ½ years they have had the editorship of Dialogue. The journal has a longer history, and Jack Newell is a dean at the University of Utah.

Fletcher’s pressures have been similar to those in other behaviorally strict, male-led churches.

She follows Mormon strictures against smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages or coffee (“I never started, so I guess I don’t know what I’m missing,” she said.). But she said she was shocked once when a friend asked about a rumor she heard that Fletcher had been seen smoking-with the implication that that was a sign she had fallen away from the faith.

Such bits of information-regardless of how minor or innocent even when true-make the rounds quickly in church circles, sometimes leading to Mormon jokes about whether the glory of God is “intelligence” of a more military kind.

Fletcher is from a prominent Mormon family, but she lives on a shoestring budget, just as her magazines do.

She said she feels especially vulnerable to patronizing counsel from church leaders because she looks younger than her 33 years and is single in a church that emphasizes marriage and children.

Fletcher attended, as a reporter, much of the World Council of Churches General Assembly last summer in Vancouver, Canada, and mentioned to a high Mormon executive afterward how she thought black South African church leader Desmond Tutu was a “man of God.” The official immediately asked if she thought Mormon President Kimball was a man of God.

She said yes, and the man shook his head and said, “Where is this odyssey leading you?”

Although few claim to know where the odyssey will lead, the present intellectual movement apparently began with the growth of the Mormon History Assn. Historians in both the Salt Lake City church and the RLDS, based in Independence, Mo., have uncovered now, at times unflattering, elements to the Mormon story.

Although the Reorganized church considers itself more progressive than the Salt Lake City church, RLDS historian-theologian Paul A. Edwards said his book “Preface to Faith,” was recently published by the independent Mormon-oriented Signature Press after “our own publishing house turned it down.”

The 275,000-member RLDS, like the Mormon Church, tends to be anti-intellectual, said Edwards, a descendant of Joseph Smith. Maverick studies sometimes bring change. He said a provocative publication he co-edited for seven years called Courage probably paved the way for present historical journals in his church to publish “just about anything we want.”

One article that Edwards said caused “a lot of stir” last September was by a church historian, Richard Howard. He wrote that polygamy existed in Joseph Smith’s time in Illinois, whereas the RLDS has said polygamy started with the Mormon leader Brigham Young.

“This was the first time a responsible person in the RLDS Church admitted Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy,” Edwards said.

Explaining the excitement and camaraderie readily apparent at meetings of the Mormon History Assn. and the Sunstone conferences, Edwards said, “I think a lot of us really enjoy our exile in the running battle with the church. In one respect, it’s our identity.”

“You can always talk about how funny the church is. The danger is in the intellectuals becoming too comfortable. The younger group finds the battle is half won.”

[Intellectuals and the Church, L.A. Times; LJA Diary, 1 Sept., 1984]

Dialogue is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This is a year off, since it first appeared in 1966. This evening a dinner for all the founding editors is being held at the home of Eugene England, one of the founding editors. Harriet and I are, of course, invited.

My recollection is that I first heard of Dialogue in the summer of 1965. A group of us were planning the formation of the Mormon History Association, which we did formally in December 1965. We had given serious consideration to the establishment of a quarterly journal. I was riding back on a plane from somewhere in the East–some history convention or perhaps a research trip, and happened to sit next to Eugene England, possibly as early as April 1965. He approached me about Dialogue. I told him about our plans for a Journal of Mormon History. He said the Dialogue people would (a) welcome articles on Mormon history; (b) give special emphasis to running articles on Mormon history; (c) allow us to edit a special issue on history occasionally.

Gene mentioned the intended title, Dialogue. I was not so sure I liked it. I preferred Latter-day Saints Review or Mormon Humanities Review or Latter-day Saints Quarterly. I wanted the journal to carry primarily responsible articles that were positive in tone, but scholarly. Assured on this I presented the matter to our Mormon History Association people and they agreed to support Dialogue. Wes Johnson appeared before the Mormon History Assn. meeting in San Francisco in Dec. 1965 and presented the case and the group voted to support Dialogue.

At that early stage, I think in the fall of 1965, the Dialogue founders asked me to be one of the advisory editors. I think they did this to insure support by the Mormon historians. I told them I was inclined to accept but wanted to be sure it was all right with my ecclesiastical colleagues. I asked my stake president, Reed Bullen, to whom I was a counselor. Was it consistent with my position as a counselor in the stake presidency? He said he had no personal objection, but thought it would be appropriate for me to clear with “the people in Salt Lake,” meaning Church Headquarters. I then wrote to president Hugh B. Brown who, I thought, would be understanding of Mormon intellectuals. He wrote back that he was very busy, but he advised that I talk with President Harvey Taylor of BYU (a Vice President under Ernest Wilkinson). Whatever he recommended was what President Brown would recommend. I was teaching summer school at BYU at the time, as I recall. I wrote to ask for an appointment with him, and he set up a Friday afternoon. We spent at least an hour. Basically, he counseled as follows:

He thought Mormon intellectuals did need an outlet for their thoughts.

He thought BYU Studies was too in-house to serve as an adequate outlet for the free thought of Mormon intellectuals.

He thought a magazine edited responsibly would be a good thing.

He thought someone like me could exert a good influence.

He urged me to accept and to be a force for good as an advisor.

So I accepted. I was encouraged by Gene England’s positive point of view and by the appointment of Lowell Bennion as another advisory editor.

I was elated upon receiving the first issue. It was of far higher quality than anything I had imagined. The paper, the cover, the design, the print, the articles, the artwork–everything was far superior to anything I had envisioned. I was so proud! And pleased!

And then came the second issue. I knew at once we would have trouble because of the appearance of the article by J. D. Williams on Church and State. I was disappointed in two respects. I thought it too negative and that it could have been edited to make it less negative; why didn’t they do so? And second, I was disappointed that they didn’t tell me or ask my counsel. Why was I an advisory editor if I wasn’t asked for advice? Counterbalancing that feeling was the thrill of other articles in that second issue, particularly “Every Soul Has Its South” by Karl Keller and the poems by Carol Lynn Wright (now Pearson).

Shortly after the appearance of the second issue a Logan stake was visited by President N. Eldon Tanner, second counselor in the First Presidency. I made an opportunity to talk with him privately about Dialogue and my serving as an advisor. His reply was that so long as they asked my advice occasionally and so long as they took that advice occasionally, he thought I should remain. I thought long and hard: they aren’t asking my advice. But I stayed with them because I thought the positive outweighed the negative.

As the president of the Mormon History Association in its first year, I was in touch with a large number of historians. I knew how much they appreciated Dialogue. I was also in touch with a large number of faculty in other disciplines at USU, BYU, and the U of U. They also very much appreciated Dialogue. Finally, as a counselor in the stake presidency with a president who was gone a great deal, I was in touch with many students who had problems, some intellectual problems and some social. Many of them expressed how they had been helped by Dialogue. So I felt the journal had a positive impact and I was glad to be lending it support.

[Reminiscence about Dialogue; LJA Diary, 28 Feb., 1987]

I found time over the weekend to read the very important article in the new Dialogue on the Book of Mormon. By Blake Ostler. Up to now the scholars have tended to view it either as a pious fraud written by Joseph Smith from information available in his environment, or as a legitimate ancient scripture. Ostler, in a sixty-page article offers a theory of the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith’s expansion of an ancient work by building on the work of ancient prophets to answer nagging problems of his day. The result is a modern world view and theological understanding superimposed on the Book of Mormon text from the plates.

It is an exciting new approach which allows one to believe in the gold plates, as I have done (the evidence is overwhelming that they existed), and in the evidences of ancientness in the text (there are lots of those), and at the same time have a suitable explanation of the modernisms (and there are certainly some of those). It also fits in with a view of revelation which the historian is almost forced to accept, which he calls the creative co-participation theory of revelation.

It is, as I say, an important article, takes care of nearly all of the problems that have arisen, and helps believers like myself reconcile with scholarly problems. I am glad to have it. To my way of thinking it ranks with Lester Bush’s article of a few years ago on Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine, as one of the great articles in Dialogue. What a brilliant piece of work!

[LJA to Children, 16 Mar., 1987]

Remarks of Leonard Arrington at the 

Dialogue Anniversary Banquet, 27 August 1987

Many of you will find it difficult to understand the enormous importance of Dialogue to my generation and to the young Latter-day Saints–those between the ages of twenty and forty–who were experiencing the years of learning, of making important decisions, of developing personal philosophies, of forming patterns of life, away from the center of Zion. In explaining the overweening importance of Dialogue to our generation, let me be a little personal.

When I entered the University in 1935, there were only 750,000 members of the Church. In the Idaho county in which I had grown up and went to high school there were less than 3,000 Latter-day Saints out of a total population of about 30,000. In our own town of 12,000 there were probably not 200 Latter-day Saints, nearly all living on farms. Largely settled during the period 1905 to 1910 by Midwestern Protestants, the town was not friendly to the Saints. There were no Mormon school teachers, no Seminary. We learned about the gospel primarily in our small Sunday School and Sacrament service. 

Then I did a courageous (or perhaps foolhardy) thing for a young Latter-day Saint. I went, not to BYU or to Utah State Agricultural College, where most Latter-day Saints in Idaho seeking university education enrolled, but to the University of Idaho, in Moscow–a university that in those days was not accustomed to accommodating very many Mormons.

But the University of Idaho had one saving grace–the LDS Institute of Religion, with a superb teacher trained at the University of Chicago Divinity School, George Tanner. As an article published in an early issue of Dialogue indicates, the very first LDS Institute of Religion had been established at the University of Idaho in 1926. In constructing the building, Church authorities were thoughtful enough to include rooms that would house twenty-two men students as well as a chapel, office, recreation room, and classrooms. The Institute could thus be a center for teaching religion; a center for holding church-sponsored dances, parties, Sunday Schools, and other activities; and a center for fellow-shipping and personal living. I was one of the fellows lucky enough to be invited to live at the Institute. The University gave credit for courses completed in the Old and New Testaments, Life of Christ, Christian History, Life and Letters of Paul, and Comparative Religions. At the sane time, Brother Tanner also offered classes in Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and LDS History. I enrolled in all of them during my four years at the University.

Brother Tanner, who was the Institute teacher at Moscow for some forty-six years, helped us move from a grade school and high school understanding of LDS history and doctrine to one that was at the University level. His instruction was fully equal in quality and content to our university courses in the sciences and humanities. His courses helped us to remain loyal and active Church members.

After we graduated, many of us migrated to the Midwest, East, and South, where there was only a sprinkling of Latter-day Saints. Many of us married outside the Church and became inactive. How could we keep in touch with Latter-day Saint life and thought? There were a few books intended for educated Latter-day Saints—Widtsoe’s In Search of Truth, Rational Theology, and Evidences and Reconciliations; several of Lowell Bennion’s manuals; and one or two other works intended to reconcile secular learning and Latter-day Saint scholarship. There were a few thoughtful articles in The Improvement Era particularly when Bill Mulder was associate editor; but even here there was an attempt to avoid controversial subjects such as pacifism, polygamy, and the not-always-popular stress given to the Word of Wisdom.

During the years I was a graduate student in North Carolina, and, because of the war, in North Africa and Italy, I kept wishing there was a Latter-day Saint scholarly journal–an outlet for thoughtful articles by Latter-day Saint chemists, physicists, economists, sociologists, historians, lovers of literature, and lovers of art. I had no doubt that Mormonism–the Gospel of Jesus Christ–was exalting and that Mormon professionals could demonstrate the superiority of our doctrine and way of life in every aspect of thought. When we came to Utah in 1946 at the end of World War II and I began my research in the Church Archives, I discussed this need for more articles written by Latter-day Saint scholars with some of the people I met and worked with: Dick Poll, Gus Larson, George Ellsworth, Gene Campbell, Homer Durham, and others. We discussed this with members of General Boards of the MIA and Sunday School, all of whom responded, “We’ll see what we can do!”

Those of us who had participated or who had felt the strong need for a more scholarly discussion of Mormonism thought an influence in this direction would continue to emanate from Brigham Young University and from the Institutes of Religion, where there were persons of real intellectual distinction. This had taken place under the leadership of Franklin Harris, John A. Widtsoe, Joseph F. Merrill, and Franklin L. West. But in the late 1950s and early 1960s the Church educational system no longer encouraged intellectual pursuits with the same enthusiasm as earlier. Research and writing on controversial matters, at least, would henceforth have to be done primarily by Latter-day Saint professors and students at non-Church institutions.

Charging into the breach was a group of young Saints at Stanford, fully aware of the wide support they would have from the rest of the LDS intellectual community. In the spring of 1965 I was returning to Logan after attending a professional convention in the East when I happened to sit next to Eugene England who was likewise flying west. He confided to me what he and Wes Johnson and their associates planned to do and asked for my support.

As a professor in a university where most professors and students were LDS, I was well aware that there were many with intellectual anxieties. I taught an evening class at the LDS Institute in Logan, I had been a High Councilor in the Utah State University Stake for many years, and was now a member of the University Stake Presidency. I had conducted dozens of interviews with couples getting married, with men about to be ordained Elders, and with persons called to ward and stake positions. So I was well aware of their needs and concerns. When Gene England told me of the plans for a magazine, I encouraged him, and in particular exhorted him to publish articles on Mormon history. There were few forums for such discussion at that time. He countered by challenging me to write the lead article for the first issue and to be, along with Lowell Bennion, an advisory editor. When I asked my ecclesiastical superior if that would be consistent for me in my then Church assignment, he gave his full approval. We have nothing to fear in the search for truth, he said; the Church will not be damaged by a responsible independent voice; and he thought I was the kind of person who could give good advice.

I will never forget the day when the first Dialogue came to our home in Logan. It was beautiful–more beautiful than any professional magazine I knew about. It was so well-designed, and it had wonderful articles—articles of lasting impact. There was Frances Menlove on “The Challenge of Honesty,” Victor Cline on the faith of a psychologist, Mario De Pillis on the quest for religious authority, and Claude Burtenshaw on “The Student: His University and His Church.” From the pulpit, there was a sermon of Truman Madsen on Joseph Smith. A roundtable featured Richard Anderson, Robert McAfee Brown, and David Bennett on Sterling McMurrin’s Theological Foundations of Mormonism. There was poetry by Gene England and Stephen Gould and reviews by Mary Bradford, Ed Lyon, John Sorenson, and Laurence Lyon. There was the beautiful cover and layout design by Paul Salisbury and the art work of Doug Snow. And many other attractions. It was a great issue, and I’ve looked forward to every issue since that first one.

I know from personal experience that the journal was beneficial to our generation and to the generation of our students and our children. I know for a fact that Dialogue kept many people in the Church and in the culture who might otherwise have dropped out. I have received many letters from persons, including bishops, stake presidents, and even general authorities, who have expressed their gratitude for the existence of Dialogue and indicating what it has meant to them or to someone they loved.

I do not agree with the reasoning in every article that has been published in Dialogue, nor do I agree with the decision of the editors to publish every article that they have used. But I devoutly believe that the magazine serves a worthy purpose. Dialogue has helped the spirit of the gospel permeate many circles that otherwise would never have given us the light of day. I say, long live Dialogue! 

[LJA Remarks at Dialogue Anniversary Banquet; LJA Diary, 27 Aug., 1987]

I learned this week that the FBI people hired by the Church have maintained a file on people that might be potential enemies, and that this includes files on people connected with Sunstone and Dialogue. The files contain only potentially harmful material, not positive reports. That is, clippings from articles and books and newspaper reports with damaging views or information. The two sources for this information on file, are Ross Peterson and Linda Sillitoe. In both cases, they were called in by their stake presidents, sent to area representatives, and confronted with the material in their “file,” demanding an explanation, apology, and threatening excommunication.

The creation of these files—and of course we don’t know how many have been assembled or where they are located—I believe to be a result of the employment of several former FBI executives who were trained in this sort of thing and during the scares of the 1970s and ‘80s sold the concept to church authorities. That the files contain only negative information, and in some cases unsubstantiated information, is especially regrettable. That the files still existed in 1991 is attested by both Ross and Linda. Almost certainly they have one on me, although there has never been an occasion when they have confronted me with it. I am certain my file was started by Tom Truitt, a John Bircher employee of the Historical Department.

Leonard Arrington

[LJA Diary, 6 Feb., 1992]

 This morning I discussed privately with Elder Joseph Anderson the problemthat has come up in connection with an article co-authored by Davis Bitten.Davis, in his capacity as professor at the University of Utah, and Gary Bunker,professor of psychology at BYU, have been working for a year or more on”Images of the Mormons in the 19th Century Press.” Their purpose is to tryto understand the emotional reaction to the Mormons, their works, and theirleaders in the American press. They presented a paper last year at BYU onEnoch’s Advocate. As a continuation of that talk they prepared a paper onillustrations in contemporary American magazines which accepted articles aboutthe Latter-day Saints. This somehow was brought to the attention of MaryBradford, new editor of Dialogue and she wrote or telephoned, I don’t knowwhich, to Brother Bunker asking him to send her a copy. He did so and she quicklyreplied that they were planning a special “media issue” of Dialogue and wouldlike to use this in that special issue. Gary then mentioned it to Davis.Davis asked me if I had any objections to him allowing his name to be used onthe article. I read the article and found it to be a rather straight-forward account of images of the Mormons in the contemporary American press. Theimage, of course, is a false one, but the presentation of the image helps toexplain the bitterness, the hatred, the negative attitude directed towardMormons in the 19th Century. It helps to explain some of the anti-Mormonlegislation and the anti-Mormon crusades–even the dispatching of Johnston’s.Army to Utah in 1857 and 1858.

I explained all of this to Brother Anderson and told him that the more Ithought about it the more I felt it would do more harm to ask Davis to withdrawthe article than to allow it to be printed. Brother Anderson asked me a number of questions and made some comments and then he said that he agreed with me that it would probably be better to allow the article to be published under theconditions I recounted than to withdraw it and raise the cry of censorship.I told Brother Anderson that I would ask Davis to do the following:

I. See that the editor writes a brief introduction which willput the article in its setting.

2. In identifying him see that he is listed as a professor at theUniversity of Utah and not as Assistant Church Historian.

3. Make certain that no other person in our division is represented inthat issue with an article.

Brother Anderson nodded his head in agreement with this proposal.

[LJA Diary, 12 Oct., 1976]

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]