45 years ago today - Mar 23, 1979-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]
I learned today some things about Merv Hogan and his work on the Masons. He told me this morning that one reason he had been impelled to make such a thorough study of Masonry and the Mormons is that he had been the recipient of four visits of heavenly beings which had urged him on in doing this assignment. Of course his primary goal has been to get the recession [abolishment] of the Utah Masons' rule that no Mormon can be admitted as a Mason. He said that about 1956 when he was getting ready to move his family to Syracuse, New York, to work for GE [General Electric], he had one evening a visit from an elderly gentleman in his 70s or 80s with black hair with white streaks and graying at the temples and dark eyes, a rather tall personage. This personage knocked on his door, talked with him a few minutes; Merv ushered him in and introduced him to the family, and after chatting for a little while said he needed to go and Merv ushered him out, but before leaving he had told Merv, "You
and I know that you have an important job to do, and you must carry on. If you persevere you will be blessed." Merv said that he was witness to the manifestation but his family were not. Since his family had not witnessed it, he began to wonder if he had dreamed it up, and at that stage he was walking down the street in Salt Lake City and saw this person again, and the person came up to him and said, "I hope you will remember my visit to you at your house. Remember if you persevere in this important work, you will be blessed."

Several years later when he was in Phoenix he was visited by a young pleasant person two different times with a very similar message. So Merv believes that he is an instrument in the hands of the Lord and that the Lord is manipulating things to help accomplish a desirable job. ... Merv says he has been told by some member of the Quorum of the Twelve that they wanted to have him publish this, and there were two others who were vehement that he must not publish it. Merv knows that this was discussed formally in the Quorum of the Twelve, with this division of opinion, and he thinks that perhaps President Kimball wished to keep that division down by urging him not to publish. Anyway, he published it. I told him that I would feel sure one of those two members of the Quorum was Elder Peterson, and he reluctantly admitted that was the case. He said another member of the Quorum of Twelve who was against any mention of the Mormons in connection with Masonry was President Joseph
Fielding Smith. He said that both Brother Peterson and President Smith would prefer that no Mormon history book contained any mention that Joseph Smith was a Mason, that many of the leaders of the Church were Masons, that they had a lodge in Nauvoo, and so on. He said President Kimball does not personally object to it but had played the role of peacemaker.

Maureen [Beecher] came in to say that she had received a telephone call from John Madsen. John said that the First Presidency and "the Brethren" had decided that the Relief Society needed more visibility and that he had been assigned to provide additional input into the Church given to the Relief Society by the Brethren in past periods. He has had Tom Truitt and Anna Mae Robison101 working on it and he asked for additional help from Maureen. He wants the material by next Tuesday. I told Maureen to furnish him some good quotations that she can get quickly and that in addition she should telephone him and suggest he write a letter to Elder Durham suggesting a more detailed research project to be done by us on women and their role in Church history. Maureen said he emphasized several times that the biggest single problem in the Church is the problem of women and the image of women and that the Church is determined to do everything they can to help everyone understand more
fully the importance we attach to women and their work. ...

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

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