50 years ago today - Jun 14, 1974-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]
A week ago yesterday the Quorum of Twelve are reported to have discussed the question of royalties to the authors of the volumes of the sesquicentennial history. I made a report on the matter to Elders Hunter and McConkie, and I personally delivered it Tuesday. Presumably they read it before the meeting of the Quorum of Twelve yesterday. It is my understanding that the Quorum of Twelve yesterday, after some discussion of the matter, voted definitely to cancel the royalty provisions of the contract, and Jim Mortimer and myself should meet to agree on a fixed sum to be paid to each author as payment for his labor and as an inducement to surrender his contract for royalties to be paid in the future. Whether Elders McConkie and Hunter used any of the information I supplied in the discussion I do not know. I did hear that some person in the Quorum of Twelve had investigated some precedents on this. They reported at the meeting, for example, that James E. Talmage was not paid one cent of
royalty or money in lieu of royalty on Articles of Faith or Jesus the Christ. It was also reported that B. H. Roberts was not paid royalties or money in lieu of royalties for his six-volume Comprehensive History of the Church. Of course, both of these brothers were apostles37 of the Church and did all the work on Church time. Moreover, these volumes were published by the Church. In the case of Essentials of Church History Joseph Fielding Smith did receive and his heirs continue to do so. The same with Preston Nibley and his works, and the same with all other works including those authored by the First Presidency and other General Authorities. Jim Mortimer and I had a meeting this afternoon and we agreed to recommend that each author be offered a lump sum payment of $25,000 for his work in writing the volume in return for which he would surrender the contract. This payment would be made as follows: one-fourth at the time he completes the manuscript, one-fourth at the time the book
is published, one-fourth after one year of sales, and the final one-fourth after a second year of sales. Jim will write a letter to Elders Monson and McConkie as he had been directed presumably to be signed also by me. If they approve Jim and I agreed that we would write a joint letter with both our signatures to each of the sixteen authors.

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

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