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Leonard Arrington Testimony


Daniel Peterson

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Every once in a while, I put together a testimony for an exceptionally prominent deceased LDS scholar and post it on "Mormon Scholars Testify." This one seems particularly relevant to the claim, advanced by some critics, that Mormon history has been systematically falsified, and that the truth can only be had from critics:

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/2620/leonard-j-arrington

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Every once in a while, I put together a testimony for an exceptionally prominent deceased LDS scholar and post it on "Mormon Scholars Testify." This one seems particularly relevant to the claim, advanced by some critics, that Mormon history has been systematically falsified, and that the truth can only be had from critics:

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/2620/leonard-j-arrington

Kenneth Godfrey's too:

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/2593/kenneth-w-godfrey

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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Every once in a while, I put together a testimony for an exceptionally prominent deceased LDS scholar and post it on "Mormon Scholars Testify." This one seems particularly relevant to the claim, advanced by some critics, that Mormon history has been systematically falsified, and that the truth can only be had from critics:

http://mormonscholar...ard-j-arrington

Thanks for his inclusion. He is clearly under-represented in many LDS circles as well.

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Yes. Ken Godfrey's is a good one, too.

Incidentally, I mentioned the Arrington testimony over on a certain other board, where my Malevolent Stalker publishes his work. The Stalker has gone absolutely apoplectic about it. It's one of the weirdest reactions I've ever seen from him -- and that's saying a very great deal.

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Yes. Ken Godfrey's is a good one, too.

Incidentally, I mentioned the Arrington testimony over on a certain other board, where my Malevolent Stalker publishes his work. The Stalker has gone absolutely apoplectic about it. It's one of the weirdest reactions I've ever seen from him -- and that's saying a very great deal.

I read through it. It was beyond amazing.

The best explanation I can come up with is this: Scratch, the founder of the Stupefaction, has a romantic notion of Arrington as some kind of maverick, bravely exposing the "warts and all" history against the evil machinations and Star Chamber proceedings of the big daddies. I rather suspect he has such a notion of Arrington because he has a similar view of himself.

The reality, of course, is that Arrington was both a faithful Latter-day Saint and a good historian, and the Stalker can't actually manage those two concepts at the same time; while the Stalker himself is an obsessive hater possessed of rather dubious emotional stability.

The contributions by DrW were entirely predictable. He is, after all, one of the leading lights of the Malefaction; in the absence of its founding member, who has been spending quite a bit of time here lately, he must see a need to wave the flag now and then. The opportunity to accuse you of having fabricated the entire testimony was obviously just too delicious to pass up.

All we need now is for the founder of the Putrefaction to put in an appearance, and all three factions of the Sty will be well represented on that thread.

The remarkable thing is that when they want to brag about how wonderful their board is, they point to the Celestial forum as a repository of undiluted sweetness and light.

Regards,

Pahoran

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The best explanation I can come up with is this: Scratch, the founder of the Stupefaction, has a romantic notion of Arrington as some kind of maverick, bravely exposing the "warts and all" history against the evil machinations and Star Chamber proceedings of the big daddies. I rather suspect he has such a notion of Arrington because he has a similar view of himself.

The reality, of course, is that Arrington was both a faithful Latter-day Saint and a good historian

Why can't both be reality? According to the SL Tribune:

"A historical department official, whom Arrington later referred to in his memoirs as a "spy," regularly examined the group's publications, highlighting "controversial" paragraphs and forwarding them to church leaders. The pages were placed in a special file on "questioning liberals" kept by church security, according to Arrington."

Sounds like something Scratch would say, but it is Arrington doing the complaining here. So yes, I can see why Scratch likes him.

Arrington was frequently monitored by the Church because his scholarship too often crossed over into controversial topics. That sounds like something Scratch would remember and remind everyone about. But is it false? No. The Church eventually pulled the plug on him and he didn't like that. That doesn't mean he had to fall away from the Church, and I don't think anyone has ever said he did.

And while you're mocking those on the other forum, it is interesting to see that a recently baptized Mormon (Aristotle Smith) agrees with Scratch. He is somewhat troubled by Dan's use of Arrington's citation without permission, and I can't say I blame him. It is a little weird don't you think? Dan doesn't tell us from whence this citation came. Was it something he said 30 years ago or on his death bed? He just makes it seem like this was something he wrote specifically for the website. The fact is Arrington left his diaries only for his kids and requested that no one else read them, but the Church violated that agreement. His son Carl said, "If the church can't abide by the agreement, the microfilms and all copies of his diaries should be immediately returned to the family."

There seemed to be a growing suspicion that Arrington's journals contained some kind of bombshell that would be damaging to the church.

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Why can't both be reality? According to the SL Tribune:

"A historical department official, whom Arrington later referred to in his memoirs as a "spy," regularly examined the group's publications, highlighting "controversial" paragraphs and forwarding them to church leaders. The pages were placed in a special file on "questioning liberals" kept by church security, according to Arrington."

In all likelihood, "spy" may have been Joseph Fielding Smith, who served as the longest-tenured Church Historian and Recorder from 1921-1970. Arrington highlights their paradoxical relationship in Adventures of a Church Historian. In my own observations, most of Arrington's proverbial "run-ins" with Church officials occurred before his call as Church Historian. In spite of Arrington's academic reservations with a number of church leaders who felt a tacit approach to Church History was more appropriate, the archives are now more open to scholars than they ever have been. As much as Thomas W. Murphy and Simon Southerton have loved being called "Galileo" for their work exposing the alleged achilles heel of Mormonism, I think Arrington is the only person who has come moderately close to deserving the title.

Sounds like something Scratch would say, but it is Arrington doing the complaining here. So yes, I can see why Scratch likes him.

Arrington was frequently monitored by the Church because his scholarship too often crossed over into controversial topics. That sounds like something Scratch would remember and remind everyone about. But is it false? No. The Church eventually pulled the plug on him and he didn't like that. That doesn't mean he had to fall away from the Church, and I don't think anyone has ever said he did.

I can't say I would blame Arrington for being wary of the issue, but at the same time I can't say I would blame the Church, which was still licking its wounds from Brodie's No Man Knows My History.

The fact is Arrington left his diaries only for his kids and requested that no one else read them, but the Church violated that agreement. His son Carl said, "If the church can't abide by the agreement, the microfilms and all copies of his diaries should be immediately returned to the family."

There seemed to be a growing suspicion that Arrington's journals contained some kind of bombshell that would be damaging to the church.

Well, I'm pleased Carl presented at the public-opening of his father's journals last year at USU. I had a few friends who attended the USU lecture and pointed me in the direction of Arrington's scholarship. Since that time I've read four of his books and will likely continue to read his work. Regardless, Richard Turley said his decision to allow reading and copying of the Arrington journals was to determine if the church had any claim to those in USU's possession, and that portions of the journals were created at Arrington's office, that they included official minutes of meetings and that church employees may have assisted in their production. Turley to this day maintains that he was unaware of Arrington's wishes concerning the journals until after he had reviewed portions of the journals and was notified by Arrington's family.

I think the real question is, was this an honest mistake, or a deliberate conspiracy?

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Dan doesn't tell us from whence this citation came.

On the contrary, Dan gave complete publication data and a specific page reference.

And now, as of this morning, thanks to some excellent quotations gathered by Nevo, the Leonard Arrington entry on Mormon Scholars Testify is much improved, even, over what it was before.

Whereas the source for the quotation was originally given in the bio, it has now been incorporated into the testimony itself, along with the references for the other quotations that Nevo supplied.

How evil this Peterson fellow is!

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On the contrary, Dan gave complete publication data and a specific page reference.

And now, as of this morning, thanks to some excellent quotations gathered by Nevo, the Leonard Arrington entry on Mormon Scholars Testify is much improved, even, over what it was before.

Whereas the source for the quotation was originally given in the bio, it has now been incorporated into the testimony itself, along with the references for the other quotations that Nevo supplied.

How evil this Peterson fellow is!

Well I see you've updated the entry. I applaud you for that.

I remember when I first started investigating the Church I came across Arrington's book the Mormon Experience. I remember coming across something that disturbed my friend who baptized me and he said it was an anti-Mormon book, that I shouldn't read that. I think it was about the Word of Wisdom. Arrington said something to the effect that Joseph Smith sometimes drank.

Apparently, Joseph Smith recommended the use of tobacco on the day he died, to help John Taylor with an upset stomach I believe. That's certainly not something you're going to learn from a Church approved curriculum.

In any event, it is still a bit unsettling to use these citations for this purpose, especially when the man is dead and the last statement you provided was given nearly a decade before his death. If people quoted me as of 2003, one might believe I was a die-hard Latter-day Saint as well. But of course, I'm not. Views change. Wasn't it Nibley who said he refused to be held accountable for anything he said more than a few years ago?

Incidentally, during the whole Arrington papers debacle I had been in contact with a woman who went by the moniker SuzieUtah, on one of the more critical e-lists. She struck me as a well educated lady and her big problem was over LDS history and the Book of Abraham. We had conversed off and on for more than a year; sometimes we argued against each other, and sometimes we would both team up and argue against some Evangelical anti-Mormons. The thing that really bothered her was the Church doing what it was doing over the Arrington journal at the time. I probed her for months, trying to figure out why this was such a sore spot for her, and she eventually revealed to us that she was Arrington's daughter. I later found out he had a daughter named Susan. She struck me as someone who was really upset with the Church, and had been for quite some time. She never came right out and said her father had fallen away from the Church intellectually, but she gave subtle hints that he was on that course.

And of course this all made sense. Why else would the Church be acting in such a Defcon 2 manner if there wasn't a suspicion that one of their most prestigious historians had expressed serious concerns over some things the Church had tried to hide from the general public. After all, he explicitly requested that no one from the Church read his journals until 2024. That is an odd request, so it left plenty of room for theorists to suspect what was at the core of his intentions here and what it was he didn't want the Church to read.

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Why can't both be reality? According to the SL Tribune:

"A historical department official, whom Arrington later referred to in his memoirs as a "spy," regularly examined the group's publications, highlighting "controversial" paragraphs and forwarding them to church leaders. The pages were placed in a special file on "questioning liberals" kept by church security, according to Arrington."

Yes, the Trib is known for its often-tabloidesque approach to Mormon matters.

However, that doesn't seem to be the case in this article.

Sounds like something Scratch would say, but it is Arrington doing the complaining here. So yes, I can see why Scratch likes him.

Yes, because Scratch is delusional. Arrington was a faithful, believing Latter-day Saint; as such, he was utterly beyond Scratch's comprehension.

Arrington was frequently monitored by the Church because his scholarship too often crossed over into controversial topics. That sounds like something Scratch would remember and remind everyone about. But is it false? No. The Church eventually pulled the plug on him and he didn't like that. That doesn't mean he had to fall away from the Church, and I don't think anyone has ever said he did.

Scratch ranted and raved about how Arrington would have been utterly insulted to be associated with anything Dan did. Scratch clearly projects his own obsessive hatreds onto others.

And while you're mocking those on the other forum, it is interesting to see that a recently baptized Mormon (Aristotle Smith) agrees with Scratch. He is somewhat troubled by Dan's use of Arrington's citation without permission, and I can't say I blame him. It is a little weird don't you think?

No.

Dan doesn't tell us from whence this citation came.

Yes. He does.

Several times, in fact.

It was a direct quote from a published book. Referenced and everything.

Was it something he said 30 years ago or on his death bed? He just makes it seem like this was something he wrote specifically for the website.

Not to anyone who can actually read, he doesn't.

The fact is Arrington left his diaries only for his kids and requested that no one else read them, but the Church violated that agreement.

Which is irrelevant. It wasn't from his diaries. It was from a published book.

His son Carl said, "If the church can't abide by the agreement, the microfilms and all copies of his diaries should be immediately returned to the family."

There seemed to be a growing suspicion that Arrington's journals contained some kind of bombshell that would be damaging to the church.

If by "growing suspicion" you mean something like "idle daydreaming in scratchian circles," then you may be right. Anti and ex-Mormons frequently show a remarkable gullibility towards absurd conspiracy theories involving the Church and its leaders.

His diaries have been available since last year. The notion of a "bombshell" is an anti-Mormon FPR. From the Trib article cited above:

Madsen says that, although the diary includes some rich nuggets that will interest researchers, her father did not record history "warts and all."

"He had this wisdom," she says. "He was cautious what he put in there [the diary] because he knew it would be read."

So there is no "bombshell." If there was, there would be no need to explain why there wasn't one. More on that below.

Well I see you've updated the entry. I applaud you for that.

How magnanimous of you. I'm sure that Dan will be even more magnanimous when he overlooks the fact that you haven't quite bothered to withdraw your claim that he concealed the source in the first place.

Incidentally, I remember when I first started investigating the Church I came across Arrington's book the Mormon Experience. I remember coming across something that disturbed my friend who baptized me and he said it was an anti-Mormon book, that I shouldn't read that. I think it was about the Word of Wisdom. Arrington said something to the effect that Joseph Smith sometimes drank.

Apparently, Joseph Smith recommended the use of tobacco on the day he died, to help John Taylor with an upset stomach I believe. That's certainly not something you're going to learn from a Church approved curriculum.

Actually I don't see that it's the least bit "troubling." In reality, it's neither here nor there. But I can see why exmo's might giggle about it like schoolboys with a girlie mag.

I purchased The Mormon Experience from a secular bookstore when it first came out. I was impressed that something so uniformly favourable to the Church could be sold outside Church distribution channels.

In any event, it is still a bit unsettling to use these citations for this purpose, especially when the man is dead and the last statement you provided was given nearly a decade before his death.

He was a Mormon scholar. He testified of the restored Gospel. Frequently. He wrote his testimony in a number of books he published. Now I'm only guessing here, but it seems to me that if someone goes to the trouble of writing and publishing something, then maybe he wanted it to be read. A venue with a name like "Mormon scholars testify" seems an entirely appropriate place for the testimony of a prominent Mormon scholar to be published.

I see nothing "unsettling" about it. But then, I'm not nurturing an evidence-free fantasy about him that his testimony might undermine.

During the whole Arrington papers debacle I had been in contact with a woman who went by the moniker SuzieUtah, on one of the more critical e-lists. She struck me as a well educated lady and her big problem was over LDS history and the Book of Abraham. We had conversed off and on for more than a year; sometimes we argued against each other, and sometimes we would both team up and argue against some Evangelical anti-Mormons. The thing that really bothered her was the Church doing what it was doing over the Arrington journal at the time. I probed her for months, trying to figure out why this was such a sore spot for her, and she eventually revealed to us that she was Arrington's daughter. I later found out he had a daughter named Susan. She struck me as someone who was really upset with the Church, and had been for quite some time. She never came right out and said her father had fallen away from the Church intellectually, but she gave subtle hints that he was on that course.

So that's why you find it "unsettling" that his testimony should appear alongside the testimonies of other Mormon scholars: because it disturbs your picture of him as a crypto-apostate.

Well, sorry.

Incidentally, the quote I gave above cited someone referred to as "Madsen." The long form of the name is Susan Arrington Madsen. What she actually said does not match the impression you chose to draw from the sly hints that may or may not have been offered to you by someone who may or may not have been the same person.

And of course this all made sense. Why else would the Church be acting in such a Defcon 2 manner if there wasn't a suspicion that one of their most prestigious historians had expressed serious concerns over some things the Church had tried to hide from the general public.

CFR that the Church was ever "acting in such a Defcon 2 manner." But as for your airy "why else," I will simply point out that there might be dozens of reasons, if indeed it really happened that way (which I doubt). Anti-Mormons who obsess about the notion that the Church "conceals" its history would naturally leap to such a baseless conclusion and then attempt to support it with a mere "why else," but it's not good enough. Sorry.

Accusations need to be supported by actual evidence.

After all, he explicitly requested that no one from the Church read his journals until 2024. That is an odd request, so it left plenty of room for theorists to suspect what was at the core of his intentions here and what it was he didn't want the Church to read.

CFR, please: where and when did he "explicitly request" any such thing?

Regards,

Pahoran

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Well I see you've updated the entry. I applaud you for that.

Contrary to your charge, the entry always included the full bibliographical data for the book from which it came, and the specific page numbers from which it was excerpted.

You could at least acknowledge that, I think.

the last statement you provided was given nearly a decade before his death.

Leonard Arrington's Adventures of a Church Historian was published on 1 May 1998.

Leonard Arrington died on 11 February 1999.

That's not nearly ten years. That's just over nine months.

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Contrary to your charge, the entry always included the full bibliographical data for the book from which it came, and the specific page numbers from which it was excerpted.

You could at least acknowledge that, I think.

Leonard Arrington's Adventures of a Church Historian was published on 1 May 1998.

Leonard Arrington died on 11 February 1999.

That's not nearly ten years. That's just over nine months.

Facts just don't matter. Stop bothering us with them.

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I have to admit that it's been unusually fun over there for the past couple of days.

Scratch has revealed himself perhaps more clearly than ever before for what he is -- namely, an obsessive loon who's absolutely consumed with irrational hatred.

He's had a few disciples come in briefly, attempting to support their embattled master, but they've embarrassed themselves badly and have largely abandoned the field.

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Contrary to your charge, the entry always included the full bibliographical data for the book from which it came, and the specific page numbers from which it was excerpted.

You could at least acknowledge that, I think.

Leonard Arrington's Adventures of a Church Historian was published on 1 May 1998.

Leonard Arrington died on 11 February 1999.

That's not nearly ten years. That's just over nine months.

I stand corrected Dan. I didn't recollect seeing it the first time, but I may have read it too quickly.

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If by "growing suspicion" you mean something like "idle daydreaming in scratchian circles," then you may be right. Anti and ex-Mormons frequently show a remarkable gullibility towards absurd conspiracy theories involving the Church and its leaders.

Of course Pahoran! LOL. It is always those evil anti-Mormons. I mean, they are the ones who made the Church react the way it did to the possibility that Arrington's papers could go public. The issues isn't whether they contained some kind of bombshell. They probably didn't. The point is the Church thought that it was possible and reacted accordingly.

Arrington donated his materials to Utah State University and the Church freaked out. This is not anti-Mormon conspiracy, it is simply the facts. Otherwise, why did the Church take aggressive legal tactics to prevent the materials from becoming public? And then they put Turley in charge. Turley was not a historian he was an attorney for Pete's sake.

His diaries have been available since last year. The notion of a "bombshell" is an anti-Mormon FPR. From the Trib article cited above:

No, it was born on the LDS front. Certain LDS leaders feared Arrington was going to make a ruckus from the grave. He was already considered a liberal historian, and had been criticized and even attacked for speaking on sensitive matters the Church would have rather kept silent. Arrington had also criticized the Church's attempt to suppress scholarship.

How magnanimous of you. I'm sure that Dan will be even more magnanimous when he overlooks the fact that you haven't quite bothered to withdraw your claim that he concealed the source in the first place.

Concealed? That's your word, not mine. Not saying something isn't the same as concealing it. Good grief.

He was a Mormon scholar. He testified of the restored Gospel. Frequently.

Yes, but so do many LDS folks who are on the path to apostasy. I'm not saying he was on his way, I'm just saying the suspicion was there, and it wasn't just from anti-Mormons.

So that's why you find it "unsettling" that his testimony should appear alongside the testimonies of other Mormon scholars: because it disturbs your picture of him as a crypto-apostate.

No, I already said why I thought it was weird. The first time I read the entry I didn't see a reference. Dan says it was there all along, so I believe him and retract my complaint.

Incidentally, the quote I gave above cited someone referred to as "Madsen." The long form of the name is Susan Arrington Madsen. What she actually said does not match the impression you chose to draw from the sly hints that may or may not have been offered to you by someone who may or may not have been the same person

Well, it is certainly possible I was duped. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. But I think it was really her for the simple reason that she never told any of us that her father was a prestigious historian. She would also make comments about how annoyed she was by Church representatives coming over to their home to confiscate her father's papers. I had no idea what she was talking about at the time and she didn't bother to explain it because we all just let her vent her frustrations while keeping our distance. Her comments were just quips of frustration until eventually I asked her off the forum what the heck she was talking about. But if she is now a devout LDS member, then why is that so hard to believe? People tinker with apostasy and come back all the time, do they not? This was awhile back though, probably eight years ago.

CFR that the Church was ever "acting in such a Defcon 2 manner."

As I said, by hiring lawyers to put a halt to Arrington's papers from entering the public domain.

But as for your airy "why else," I will simply point out that there might be dozens of reasons, if indeed it really happened that way (which I doubt). Anti-Mormons who obsess about the notion that the Church "conceals" its history would naturally leap to such a baseless conclusion and then attempt to support it with a mere "why else," but it's not good enough. Sorry.

But it was Arrington who said he was being spied upon by the Church. He bore his own testimony that the Church was trying to conceal certain historical facts. He believed that by disclosing everything, that the context would set things straight and that there would be nothing to worry about from a faith-promoting perspective. But this doesn't change the fact that the Church didn't take his advice. The Church believed he was speaking and writing on matters that needed to be kept secret. So, was Arrington an anti-Mormon?

CFR, please: where and when did he "explicitly request" any such thing?

http://www.beliefnet...gnored.aspx?p=1

Arrington did not sign a section of the document allowing an exception to the church's staff. Instead, he wrote in "No. I assign no rights to the Historical Department."... Carl Arrington said his father "specifically restricted access to his diary, including staff of the historical department, for the very reason that he did not want this material to be taken out of context and used inappropriately."

A historical department official, whom Arrington later referred to in his memoirs as a "spy," regularly examined the group's publications, highlighting "controversial" paragraphs and forwarding them to church leaders. The pages were placed in a special file on "questioning liberals" kept by church security, according to Arrington.

Eventually, LDS Church leaders dismantled Arrington's team and released him from his position as church historian. Arrington continued writing Mormon history to the end of his life, documenting his experiences in his journals; he produced one journal each year until his death.

He gave the church a microfilm copy of the journals and donated the originals to USU, in both cases restricting access for years--a decade for the university and 25 years for the church.

From a 2001 SLT article written by the same authors:

To some, a scholarly archive might seem an unlikely battleground for this tug-of-war between two institutional titans -- a public university committed to open access and scholarship and a church whose faith is built on a singular interpretation of history. At the center of the disagreement is Arrington himself, a jovial scholar, believer, father and friend who walked a delicate balance between dedication to his church and to his calling as a historian. Arrington, who died in 1999, would have had no trouble recognizing the present dispute. After all, the battle over his papers is the same fight he waged as LDS Church historian from 1972 to 1982: Who controls the documents and who gets to determine how Mormon history is written? <br style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Many Mormon officials, like Apostle Boyd K. Packer, say all church history should be "faithful history." "Your objective should be that [readers] will see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the church from its beginning till now," Packer told a group of LDS religious instructors in August 1981. "If not properly written or taught, it may be a faith destroyer." In keeping with this view, writings that reveal leaders' human failings or evolving doctrine should be sealed from the public arena lest some attempt to use it to contradict the church's seamless image. Polygamy is a sensitive topic. So are 19th century women's healing blessings that suggested some priesthood participation, power struggles among the male quorums or church finances. By contrast, Arrington maintained that Mormon history should reveal the "amplitude of human concerns." The story of the Latter-day Saints should show them "in their worship and prayer, in their mutual relationships, in their conflicts and contacts, in their social dealings, in their solitude and estrangement, in their high aspirations and in their fumbling weaknesses and failures," he wrote in his 1998 memoir, Adventures of a Church Historian. For Arrington, the first and only professional scholar to hold the title "Church Historian," throwing open the archives for all to see was the best way to accomplish this.
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This is not anti-Mormon conspiracy, it is simply the facts.

I'm not so sure that it's "simply the facts."

I can't really give you any details, because, when I heard them, I wasn't interested and didn't pay much attention, but I'm pretty confident that this is simply one spin on the story.

Turley was not a historian he was an attorney for Pete's sake.

That's not really fair. Rick Turley has written enough historical material (e.g., Victims and Massacre at Mountain Meadows) that he can quite justly be called a historan. Not to mention the fact that he has long been the managing director of the Church Historical Department.

Plenty of quite accomplished modern historians have no degrees in history.

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But, you see, well . . . ummm, this is a bit embarrassing . . . Oh, I might as well just blurt it out: She was on the right side, silly!

Todd Compton's degrees are in classics, but he writes almost exclusively on nineteenth-century American Mormon history.

And there are plenty of others -- in Mormon studies, yes, but well beyond Mormon studies, too.

Among the most popular historians in the United States today, David McCullough, winner of the National Book Award and twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has a Yale B.A. in English literature, and Doris Kearns Goodwin has a Pulitzer Prize and a Harvard Ph.D., but in government. She's a political scientist.

Neither Shelby Foote (d. 2005) nor the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Bruce Catton (d. 1978) had any college degree at all, though both of them were distinguished historians of the American Civil War.

And so on and so forth.

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Of course Pahoran! LOL. It is always those evil anti-Mormons. I mean, they are the ones who made the Church react the way it did to the possibility that Arrington's papers could go public. The issues isn't whether they contained some kind of bombshell. They probably didn't. The point is the Church thought that it was possible and reacted accordingly.

Again: what evidence do you have that "the Church" thought any such thing?

The facts: Richard Turley wanted to find out whether any of the Arrington materials had been written in Arrington's office as part of his employment, and therefore were the Church's intellectual property.

The anti-Mormon swill: the Church was in a panic in case Arrington had something on them.

Arrington donated his materials to Utah State University and the Church freaked out. This is not anti-Mormon conspiracy, it is simply the facts.

CFR that your "freaked out" hysteria is "the facts."

Otherwise, why did the Church take aggressive legal tactics to prevent the materials from becoming public?

CFR that the Church did "take aggressive legal tactics to prevent the materials from becoming public." The source you linked to only describes an attempt to determine whether the Church had any IP rights in the materials.

And then they put Turley in charge. Turley was not a historian he was an attorney for Pete's sake.

Dan has already addressed that point. I will simply mention that that is a rather funny argument, coming from someone who considers himself qualified to pronounce on recondite questions of egyptology without any qualifications in that discipline.

No, it was born on the LDS front. Certain LDS leaders feared Arrington was going to make a ruckus from the grave.

Call for references, please. Incidentally, these need to be credible references, not more anti-Mormon schweinerei.

Concealed? That's your word, not mine. Not saying something isn't the same as concealing it. Good grief.

I have reviewed what you previously wrote. You're right, you didn't actually say "concealed." What you said was:

He [Dan] just makes it seem like this was something he [presumably Arrington] wrote specifically for the website.

IOW, you accused Dan of attempting to deceive readers as to the provenance of the testimony.

That accusation, like most of your accusations, was false.

Tell us, Xander: was the falsehood malicious or merely negligent?

Yes, but so do many LDS folks who are on the path to apostasy. I'm not saying he was on his way, I'm just saying the suspicion was there, and it wasn't just from anti-Mormons.

You've produced no evidence that anyone other than your clique ever imagined that Arrington was about to join you.

Actually if there is anyone whom Arrington would regard with disdain and not wish to be associated with, it would have to be the Scratchians.

Well, it is certainly possible I was duped. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. But I think it was really her for the simple reason that she never told any of us that her father was a prestigious historian. She would also make comments about how annoyed she was by Church representatives coming over to their home to confiscate her father's papers.

"Confiscate?" Really?

I had no idea what she was talking about at the time and she didn't bother to explain it because we all just let her vent her frustrations while keeping our distance. Her comments were just quips of frustration until eventually I asked her off the forum what the heck she was talking about. But if she is now a devout LDS member, then why is that so hard to believe? People tinker with apostasy and come back all the time, do they not? This was awhile back though, probably eight years ago.

That's certainly possible; why, even you may come to your senses eventually. However, even if this person was annoyed because some Church employees were stepping on toes, that's a long way short of apostasy.

Kevin, I'm quite happy to accept, for the purposes of this discussion, that your second-hand report of this person's uncheckable identity is accurate. What I wonder about is the extent to which your memory of her "hints" is skewed by your own blazingly hostile view of the Church.

As I said, by hiring lawyers to put a halt to Arrington's papers from entering the public domain.

CFR that the Church hired "lawyers to put a halt to Arrington's papers from entering the public domain." Again, the source you cited said that they were trying to find out if any of the papers were the Church's IP.

But it was Arrington who said he was being spied upon by the Church. He bore his own testimony that the Church was trying to conceal certain historical facts. He believed that by disclosing everything, that the context would set things straight and that there would be nothing to worry about from a faith-promoting perspective. But this doesn't change the fact that the Church didn't take his advice. The Church believed he was speaking and writing on matters that needed to be kept secret. So, was Arrington an anti-Mormon?

No he wasn't, which is precisely why you and Scratch should give up on trying to perform an Apostasy For The Dead on him.

The article you referenced cites a number of other cases where posthumously donated papers had restrictions placed upon them for a period of years, and all without even the possibility of any Mormon "bombshells" in view. Note, Kevin: you read that article, you linked it for us, and yet you cannot see what is staring you in the face: that restricting access for a period of time, to documents that name living people, is a very common practice and has nothing to do with any historical "bombshells" that they might or might not contain.

Getting back to the topic of this thread: Arrington was a faithful, believing Mormon scholar. There is no rational reason to suppose that he would have been anything other than delighted to write a testimony for "Mormon Scholars Testify" had it existed in his lifetime. There was nothing that any rational person could see as "creepy" in taking excerpts from his published works, in which he testified of the restored Gospel, and using them for the purpose of testifying of the restored Gospel. The only reason I can see why the hideous Scratch and his fawning acolytes went into fits of apoplexy over this is because they've somehow flattered themselves into imagining that Arrington was in some sense "one of us."

He wasn't.

Get over it.

Regards,

Pahoran

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The Stalker has gone absolutely apoplectic about it. It's one of the weirdest reactions I've ever seen from him -- and that's saying a very great deal.

And it was hoot to read it.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

DCP, living rent free in the head of the "Stalker". :rofl:

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Note, Kevin: you read that article, you linked it for us, and yet you cannot see what is staring you in the face: that restricting access for a period of time, to documents that name living people, is a very common practice and has nothing to do with any historical "bombshells" that they might or might not contain.

Yes, it is a common practice. Quoting from the article,

Other archivists, however, say restrictions often do apply to library staff. "The simpler the restrictions the better, because it gets confusing," said Charlotte B. Brown, archivist at the University of California, Los Angeles, which has a large film and television collection. "But if donors feel they have a good reason to restrict something from library staff, we'll abide by their wishes."

The question remains, if somebody requests that material be restricted, is the library morally obligated to abide by their wishes? From the article,

Library staff would never make copies of sealed materials and show them to others, as the LDS Church did. To do so, he said, would be "absolutely wrong, unprofessional and dishonest."

What's interesting about the restrictions is that while the copies of the journals given to the church were restricted for 25 years, the originals given to USU were only restricted for 10 years.

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Yes, it is a common practice. Quoting from the article,

The question remains, if somebody requests that material be restricted, is the library morally obligated to abide by their wishes? From the article,

Some people thought they were, and some people thought the restrictions applied only to the public and not to the library staff.

And Turley didn't think he was doing anything contrary to Arrington's wishes until the family made a fuss. Also according to the article.

What's interesting about the restrictions is that while the copies of the journals given to the church were restricted for 25 years, the originals given to USU were only restricted for 10 years.

Yes that is interesting. Especially given the fact that Church employees would have exactly the same access as everyone else would to the USU's collection once it was made available to the public.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Well, I'm pleased Carl presented at the public-opening of his father's journals last year at USU. I had a few friends who attended the USU lecture and pointed me in the direction of Arrington's scholarship. Since that time I've read four of his books and will likely continue to read his work.

His daughter, who presented it alongside Carl, and my mom have been very close friends ever since she and her husband have served in my branch in Israel. She invited me, it was a great lecture. I was particularly impressed with how Carl respectfully presented his father's views rather than his own.

Regardless, Richard Turley said his decision to allow reading and copying of the Arrington journals was to determine if the church had any claim to those in USU's possession, and that portions of the journals were created at Arrington's office, that they included official minutes of meetings and that church employees may have assisted in their production. Turley to this day maintains that he was unaware of Arrington's wishes concerning the journals until after he had reviewed portions of the journals and was notified by Arrington's family.

I think the real question is, was this an honest mistake, or a deliberate conspiracy?

I'll have to ask. I think it was an honest mistake seeing as the family had met with other church officials who stated that they weren't going to dispute the release.

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The facts: Richard Turley wanted to find out whether any of the Arrington materials had been written in Arrington's office as part of his employment, and therefore were the Church's intellectual property....

Getting back to the topic of this thread: Arrington was a faithful, believing Mormon scholar. There is no rational reason to suppose that he would have been anything other than delighted to write a testimony for "Mormon Scholars Testify" had it existed in his lifetime...

The whole story does make me wonder. If he was as loyal and faithful to the church as you imply, why did the Church fear he misappropriated their intellectual property in the first place?

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The whole story does make me wonder. If he was as loyal and faithful to the church as you imply, why did the Church fear he misappropriated their intellectual property in the first place?

I think this is more about privacy. Some individuals/groups appear to have a higher need for privacy than others. Obviously, the Church seeks a high degree of privacy. Further, anything done while working is the property of our employer. The information could have been redacted or the material requested to be deleted.

Unfortunately, the Church has become a large bureaucracy. It is filled with individuals that have been given authority over certain areas and things. When this happens in the Church or in any organization, individuals will do stupid things. Additionally, I try to never forget that the leaders of the Church are first and foremost men. They are called of God, but they are still just men that have their own quirks and shortcomings. Sometimes they begin to breathe their own ether; they forget that we revere the mantle and then we may begin to revere the man.

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