25 years ago today - 25 years ago - Oct 1, 1993-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]
We do not really have a president of the church now; he cannot function physically or mentally. [[Ezra Taft Benson, who became president in 1985, suffered a stroke three years later and was unable to function. Day-to-day church governance fell to his counselors.]] Historically, we have had years when the president was physically and mentally incapacitated. The last years of Heber J. Grant, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Spencer W. Kimball, and now President [Ezra Taft] Benson. During those years the counselors run things. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. was dominant during the last Grant years; Clare Middlemiss during the final McKay years; Harold B. Lee and [N.] Eldon Tanner during the Joseph Fielding Smith years, Gordon Hinckley during the last Kimball years. Right now the most outspoken apostle seems to be Boyd Packer, who seems to want to purge the church of outspoken feminists and intellectuals. My own view is that they have gone over the line and the Church will tarnish its image of being compassionate, encouraging scholarship, and living with diversity. We do know some general authorities who were devastated by the actions against Paul [Toscano] and Lavina [Fielding Anderson], but they were only Seventies and not in a position to do anything. When we've had a president that was fully functioning, he has taken a balanced and kind-hearted approach. President McKay, for example, preventing a trial for the membership of Sterling McMurrin. President Kimball, for example, supporting our historians, as did Harold B. Lee. Those who support the intellectuals seem not to find the energy to counter [Ezra Taft Benson's assistant] Bill Nelson, Boyd Packer, and Loren Dunn. [[Dunn, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was the area director for Utah, where all of the September Six lived. He was also executive director of the Historical Department, 1991-93, 1999-2000.]]

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

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