50 years ago today - Feb 13, 1974-Wednesday

[Leonard Arrington]
Lester Bush came in yesterday and reported to us on the reception he had from his article on the Negro doctrine published in Dialogue. He discussed at some length his current interest in the Book of Mormon and in medical history. He has had no official criticism as the result of his article in Dialogue and very little complaint from any source. He has had many congratulatory letters.

He has heard that some person from Church headquarters, perhaps Brother [Boyd K.] Packer, did discuss him with his mission presidents and regional representative, and they both favorably reported on him and his work and attitude, and thus that investigation was dropped. He has been compiling a Book of Mormon in which quotations are indented as in most scholarly works. This helps to separate the narrative from the long documents included from previous writers....

February 20, 1974-Wednesday 24

When Lester Bush was in here the other day, he said he had a particular personal friend among the General Authorities, whom he did not identify. He did say that this was a rather conservative brother. He had chatted with him before he talked with us. He said that he had heard of absolutely no reaction to the article which Lester had published in Dialogue magazine on the Mormons and the Negro.

He said this friend had told him that things seemed to have been moving in the direction of liberalizing the Negro doctrine. This had come up in two or three respects. One involved racial intermarriages and one involved temple activities. At any rate, this friend said that some of the more conservative brethren had somewhat resisted some of the liberalizing decisions which President Lee had made. Whether or not the friend had agreed with this was not made clear by Brother Bush. In any case, some of these people had said that they thought President Lee was mistaken in some of these liberalizing decisions and others thought he was headed in the right direction. Some regarded President Lee's sudden death as an interference of God to prevent further liberalizing from taking place.

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

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