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Working Copy of Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Paul Dunn”

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[Asian Area Conference report] After a brief rest, we met Paul and Jean Dunn and had dinner with them in the hotel. We chatted until about 9:30 p.m. and then went to bed, but I had trouble with the toilet and have been up reading.

Had a particularly good chat with them. Jean and Paul were wed before she joined the church. I don’t recall how many months or years later she joined. She was a Disciple of Christ or Christian. Her mother is still not a member and her father had been a Christian minister. Jean has a firm testimony now, of course, but it has not all come at once. The Book of Mormon was tough for her and she hardly had a testimony of that when they were called to be mission presidents in New England–Boston. She did get a firm testimony of it during those years.

Jean goes with Paul on all of his mission tours, area conferences, etc. They pay her way for those. During those Paul speaks to conferences on weekends and each day during the week will speak at some location in the mission, interview each missionary, dedicate chapels, ordain bishops, etc. A very exhausting schedule. On one such trip he dedicated twenty-one chapels, interviewed 1,200 missionaries, besides weekend conferences.

Paul was in the infantry in the Pacific in World War II. He fought on the Philippines for a year and was in Japan for a few months in 1945 for the occupation. Out of 1,000 men in his outfit only six survived all the way through. He had many miraculous escapes. He killed thirty-five Japanese, two of them officers with Samurai swords, and he has both swords today. His patriarchal blessing promised him he would be protected by angels and live to preach to a large number of people. So he was afraid, or fearful, but didn’t think he was going to die. After he came back he played ball with the St. Louis Cardinals for a while, then seminary and Institute until his call to the Seventies.

He says he received $3,000 less as a General Authority than he had been earning as a Seminary and Institute Coordinator in Southern California. He has to write a book every other year or so just to make out on expenses.

Paul was in the Pacific with President Harold B. Lee when his daughter Maurine died and could give an account of that. He spent two weeks in the Pacific with President Lee a year after he became General Authority and became close with President Lee then. People were afraid of President Lee and would not speak up on subjects until they knew how he stood. When Paul was appointed he expected there to be love and relaxation in the church headquarters. Instead he found fear, suspicion, worry. He found a great relaxation when President Kimball became president. As an example, President Kimball visits people in their offices, while President Lee never got on the second floor of the old office building or the third floor. Everybody went to him. President McKay used to visit people in their offices in the early years of his administration. President Lee once told Paul to maintain status as a General Authority, one should not answer calls left for him–just let them phone back themselves. President Lee was very conservative and held back the priesthood from making innovations, using their initiative, etc. President Lee would not ordain Rex Pinegar a High Priest and felt he could function as a Seventy to ordain bishops, high priests, etc. He had the Melchizedek Priesthood and that was sufficient.

Paul thinks a person who is a high priest may be called as a member of the First Council of Seventy, and that the Council will likely suggest such a person to the First Presidency to fill the present vacancy.

Paul says that he and many others of the General Authorities get royalties from their books and he thinks it unfair of the Church to ask us in the Historical Department to give up royalties–not fair.

We discussed some of our historical treasures and he seemed interested in the Joseph Smith diary, pages of the first draft of the Book of Mormon, etc.

He seems anxious to give his impressions of presidents under whom he has served.

[LJA Diary, 18 Aug., 1975]

[Asian Area Conference report] Paul Dunn says Duff Hanks did not know in advance of his change from Seventy to Assistant to the Council of Twelve, that he was completely surprised, that he regarded it as a demotion–moved from a quorum to assistant to a quorum, theoretically from a lifetime appointment to one which is not necessarily a lifetime appointment. Says he did not request a move from the Council of Seventy. Says the Council is giving serious thought to constituting the first Quorum. Says President Lee asked him (Paul) and others who should be appointed Church Historian after they decided to replace Howard Hunter. He inferred that everyone asked recommended me. 

[LJA Diary, 19 Aug., 1975]