50 years ago today - Aug 9, 1973-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]
President Lee ... told me about the welfare program in the Pioneer [Utah] Stake. He said they had a number of managerial executive-type persons in the stake who were disemployed during the depression. They set them up as executives of a stake organization which made negotiations with local farmers and manufacturers to exchange labor for produce and goods which would help supply the people with the basic needs. The program worked well and this eventually led to President Lee being called in by the First Presidency of the Church and asked to establish a Church Welfare Program. President Lee was overwhelmed by the assignment and prayed earnestly for support and help. He said he went out into a grove area to think and contemplate and pray and while there he received the voice of the Holy Spirit that this was a Priesthood function and it could all be organized under the Priesthood. "We didn't have to set up anything new. We already had the ideal organization for carrying it out." He said this was not a revelation-he did not hear an audible voice, but he felt that the message had got through to him from the Lord....

President Lee continued to stand and talk with me calling me "Leonard" almost fondly. He began talking about the problem of having committees read books by Church authorities. He said that he had served as a member of a committee (I gather as chairman of a committee) to read works by the General Authorities. He said they had had problems only with two authors or books-one of them was a book by Brother Ezra T. Benson. The reading committee made a number of suggestions and President Lee said when the book came out it did not incorporate a single one of any of the suggestions. In connection with this, President Lee in mentioning Brother Benson said, "Of course you know that he has been involved with the John Birch Society," which leads me to believe that it is a book which carries the John Birch line.

The other book he mentioned was [Deseret Book 1964 publication] The Fallacy by President Alvin Dyer. President Lee said he had the impression that the book came out too strongly and violently against the RLDS. Basically, I suppose, the reading committee felt that it should not reprint and that was the way the First Presidency finally decided, largely because it was more antiRLDS than it was a scholarly treatment of historic facts.

President Lee said that the RLDS have now been conducting an active missionary work in Belgium and elsewhere against our church and have made a number of converts. President Lee now wonders whether it is wise for us to try to bend over backwards in being friendly to the RLDS leaders. ...

As I was about to go President Lee said, "You are a fine writer, Leonard, and I appreciate what you have done. Let me say again that I thought Great Basin Kingdom was a magnificent work of research and writing. ...

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

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