45 years ago today - Dec 12, 1974-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]
... Truman Madsen, who is a grandson of Heber J. Grant, mentioned two things about Edwin D. Woolley. Edwin D. Woolley was bishop of the ward in which President Grant grew up. Apparently Bishop Woolley said that Heber J. Grant was a lazy good-for-nothing. Heber J. reacted so strongly against this that he promptly went to work and built a nice home for his mother and in other ways demonstrated his energy and industry. Truman's comment was that Bishop Woolley may have been a superb psychologist and this may have been his way of getting Heber J. to wake up and make a man of himself.

Truman also mentioned that ... [16 or 17-year old B. H.] Roberts was apparently not active in going to church and maybe displayed some other characteristics as drinking and/or smoking and/or swearing as the result of his experience with miners. Bishop Woolley did not like this and so either through the teachers quorum or on his own authority he excommunicated B. H. Roberts. This was in Roberts' absence. Roberts' first reaction, according to Truman, was "well, so what?" but the more he thought of it the more seriously he took this as a challenge. He went back to Bishop Woolley and protested vehemently. He demanded a hearing. At the hearing he confessed his wrongs and promised to do better, and so he was reinstated by Bishop Woolley. This was a basic point in his life and from then on he was a loyal churchman. ... Again Truman posits that this may have been Bishop Woolley's psychology at work. ...

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

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