40 years ago today - Jan 13, 1984-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]
.... All of my experiences with him [Mark E. Peterson], however, were not positive.

Item. When I published in the first issue of BYU Studies [Winter 1959] my study "An Economic Interpretation of the Word of Wisdom," he saw to the suspension of that publication for a full year, and he always held it against me that I wrote the piece.

Item. The talk which he gave in 1963, "Race Problems as They Affect the Church," opposing granting the priesthood to the blacks, a talk widely circulated, apparently with his approval, was one of the most bigoted and narrow-minded talks ever given by a "disciple of Christ." [[Petersen, "Race Problems-As They Affect the Church, at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level," Aug. 27, 1954, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.]]

Item. That he should have received and encouraged the submission of the reports of Tom Truitt about the writings and speeches of our historians, and that he should have circulated these among the Twelve without once talking to any of us to check on their accuracy or intention, was unfair, a manifestation of suspicious attitudes, and partook of retribution.

Item. His calling the meeting with me to defend our action in writing Story of the Latter-day Saints, without prior notice so as to prevent us from preparing a defense, and with charges that were unfair and incorrect, shows his receptivity to rumormongers, the suspicious, the anti-intellectuals, and represents an attempt to embarrass us before the First Presidency.

Item. Elder Petersen is the authority who sicced Tom Truitt and Roy Doxey on the historians last spring by calling their stake presidents and bishops to determine if they were loyal and active members of the church.

I have had a real concern that he might become President of the Twelve or, eventually, President of the Church. Now, at least, [with his recent death] that will not happen. The Lord has preserved us from that kind of leadership.

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

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