45 years ago today - Dec 4, 1973-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]
... This meeting had been arranged by Jay Todd as he thought it would be helpful for us to understand the policy of the Ensign in relation to the articles which we have and will be preparing for publication there. I really think that the underlining motive of Brother Todd was to have us there to persuade Brother Green to be a little more lenient in permitting publication of items that we prepared. The experience which occasioned the meeting was the editing of an article on Brigham Young's writings by Dean Jessee. In editing this article they had done two things: first they had eliminated all references to the plural wives of Brigham Young; nevertheless they had left in references to his forty-six children that had grown to maturity. Second, they had corrected the spelling of the quotations from Brigham Young's diaries and letters.

During the twenty years Brother [Richard L.] Evans was editor of the Improvement Era neither the word sex nor the phenomenon of sex could be mentioned nor could polygamy or plural marriage or the phenomenon of plurality.

Marba Josephson, [had been the associate managing editor of the Improvement Era] who complained about these restraints, said she always wondered how [apostle] Richard L. Evans ever got his wife Alice pregnant considering his prudery. Also the Improvement Era never could use the eternal triangle in any fiction they ran. It was just not something they would permit. The Church magazines today have inherited this policy plus additional restraints-no discussion of the Negro question, play down the Missouri persecutions (since this reflects on our enemies), don't permit a characterization of the Indians as the bad guys.

Brother Green thought that reproducing the misspelled words of the prophets tended to discredit them. We had quite a long discussion on the subject. ... It would appear that what Jay Todd can run depends upon what he thinks Brother Green will approve, what Brother Green will approve depends upon what he thinks Brother Ludlow will approve, what Brother Ludlow will approve depends upon what he thinks "the brethren" will approve, what the apostle advisors will approve depends upon what they think President Lee will approve, so all the way through everybody is second guessing the one next above him in authority. Everybody seemed to be terrified that if he makes a mistake the prophet will lash out like a watchdog demanding to know "Who authorized that," and the responsibility will be lodged with some particular person. The thing that disturbs me is so what? What is the Prophet going to do to you if he finds that you have made a mistake? Is he going to slip out his bowie knife and cut you down? ...

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Enter your Comment: