35 years ago today - Jan 27, 1987-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
[Talking about Mark Hoffman documents] Some historians, to be sure, believed that some of the new documents were accurate. This is because they seemed to fit so well with other evidence. They didn't change our history; they simply seemed to provide substantiation for other testimony already considered in the writing of our history. Some historians, as the result of some of these documents, thought it would be fruitful to look into the web of folklore and magic in early New York-New England in the 1820s and '30s. Basically, that evidence simply corroborated statements by Joseph Smith, long ago written into our history, that he and other members of the Smith family had at one time engaged in a search for buried treasure. The best treatment of this aspect is found in Richard Bushman's book, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, that was published in 1985 and continues to be on sale at local bookstores. ... In my judgment, whether the Hofmann documents were authentic or clever forgeries-and surely some that he sold or traded were authentic and others were forgeries-will have little influence on the writing of LDS history. But they have served to make us study more carefully our early history, and this is a plus.

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

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