45 years ago today - Sep 18, 1978-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]
Earl Olson was visited by a security official who asked that the Library-Archives be closed down at noon on Saturday... Security had heard that there was to be a sit-in of women during the afternoon. Apparently there was a reception at 3:00 o'clock in advance of the evening meeting for women. This was a reception for General Authorities and wives, the officers and spouses of Relief Society and Young Women, and perhaps general boards. ... Gordon says there was absolutely no sign of anybody wanting to sit-in and that this was a false alarm. It reminds me of the many false alarms that came during the period of black difficulties, when we kept hearing that many carloads of blacks from California were headed for Salt Lake City and they were going to "take over" Temple Square. This got so far that priesthood members in various wards in Salt Lake City were mobilized to meet the problem, in case it developed. Of course nothing happened.

Alice Smith telephoned this morning, quite discouraged. She called to tell me she did not think the time was ripe to publish a history of the Relief Society. She thought this would be too damaging to the testimonies of LDS women who would read it because, if it tells the truth, it will relate the deterioration of the power and position of women in the Church and will be very depressing to women who care. She gave as examples the following: [First,] in 1964 when she went on the [general] board, the Relief Society visited every stake at least once a year; then as the number of stakes multiplied, they were given permission to visit 60 stakes each year, then still later 24, and the new instructions give them the opportunity of visiting only 12 stakes per year. Second, the Relief Society has lost its money, its magazine, its lessons, and its semi-annual conferences. The Church correlating group in charge of writing manuals has taken over their manual; the Presiding Bishopric has taken over their money; the Ensign has taken over their magazine; and in no case have they had a substitution for any of these. When she was visiting the stake in Virginia, she assured the women that they might phone up Barbara Smith and invite her to meet with them, but as they were about to do so, they received a letter which informed them that they were not to invite any member of the board or any member of the presidency without clearing it with the stake president. The stake president had to clear it with the regional representative; the regional representative had to clear it with the area supervisor; the area supervisor had to clear it with the Quorum of Twelve. And because of all this bureaucratic arrangement, it will be impossible now for any stake to be directly in touch with the central organization of the Relief Society. Not only will they not be able to visit the various stakes, but they can't even correspond with them directly. She says that plans are now to do things at the ward level, which will make it more difficult for the Relief Society to function. She did not reveal what those were, but said that it would occur soon. She is very discouraged. She has accumulated over the years a large supply of Relief Society instructions and materials and has written notes and kept a diary, and she called to know what to do with these. I made a number of suggestions to her; the one which seemed most attractive to her was to give them to BYU or USU so they could be used by girls doing masters theses at the university. Alice said the deterioration of the Relief Society began under President [Harold B.] Lee, under his Correlation program, and that many of his appointees are still functioning and still operating under his philosophy. Dean Larsen, for example, was a Lee protegee, and is now the advisor to the Relief Society. He and those with him are continuing to trim and trim power and authority from the Relief Society.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment