40 years ago today - Jan 25, 1982-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]
I prepared a little statement to make for Newsweek [magazine] in case [religion reporter] Ken Woodward called to ask me for a statement. [[Woodward was writing on apostle Boyd K. Packer's speech on the BYU campus in Au- gust 1981, "The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect," and the response three months later from BYU professor D. Michael Quinn, "On Being a Mormon Historian." Arrington later told his children that he "spent most of a day, Wednesday, talking with Newsweek people about the article due to appear next Tuesday on history and the church. Our own bureaucracy is something to behold, their fear of doing anything that might resemble 'cooperation' with a columnist in whom they have little trust." When the article appeared, Arrington thought it was "fair and balanced, accurate, well-worded, with no low blows. It could have been much worse."]] He has not called so I will put this into my diary record[:]

We have had many indications that there is an audience out there that respects what we do. Naturally, we can't please everyone. And we don't claim to be immune from criticism. Some think we betray a bias in favor of the church; others think we raise too many questions or show a willingness to appreciate the point of view of those outside the Church. As historians who have studied other faiths must know, it is a narrow line. ...

In addition to being one of the most brilliant and productive young American historians, Michael Quinn is also one of the most faithful and devout members of the Church. In his talk, given to a few senior honors students and graduate students in history, his sole purpose, as I understand it, was to express confidence in the work our historians are doing and to express his belief that it was being done in the interests of truth, the Church, and the building of the Kingdom of God.

... Elder [Boyd K.] Packer's talk was his own and does not necessarily represent agreed-upon Church policy.

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

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