40 years ago today - Sep 18, 1979-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
Moana Bennett telephoned this morning to say that she had been requested by Elder [Mark E.] Petersen to leave out all reference to the Expositor incident in [her Nauvoo pageant] "Because of Elizabeth." She wanted some alternative reason for the assassination of the Prophet [Joseph Smith] and his brother [Hyrum Smith]. So what could she portray? ... I told her I thought her play was very historic and that in the absence of mentioning the Expositor she'd have to adapt what happened in Missouri and Ohio or maybe fudge something like Tom Sharp's personal animosity against Joseph [Smith]. She said, "It surely is difficult to follow the Brethren, isn't it?"

Kathy [Stephens] says TV Channel 2's Extra [news program] had an interview with Sonia Johnson; ... She talked about the same things she always does: emphasized that the President [Spencer W. Kimball] wouldn't grant her or a group of her associates an interview. Mentioned a conversation with her bishop relating to that, and the interviewer reported that the bishop had denied such a conversation, and then five minutes later had said there was a conversation but he couldn't remember what was said. She stressed that the leaders didn't know how many women and men are feeling as she does, and insisted that there are a great many more than they realize. ... Also interviewed [general Relief Society president] Barbara Smith briefly on the subject. The interviewer pushed, rather rudely, to make her say whether the First Presidency's stand [against the Equal Rights Amendment] was based on opinion or revelation. She finally said, "I don't know, but it doesn't matter," and then went on to say that whichever it was, it was their stand and it had been the result of careful, prayerful consideration and was "the" word to follow, because they are the First Presidency.

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

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