I expressed a caution to Elder [G. Homer] Durham about a proposed plan to distribute a copy of The Mormon Experience to each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Durham agreed with that caution and said he would distribute copies only to Elder [Boyd K.] Packer and Elder [Gordon B.] Hinckley and to the First Presidency. Jim Allen and Dean Jessee came in to mention that there are a number of things in the William Clayton Nauvoo diary which they are now reading which pertain to dealings with Emma Smith. They said that there is not only a good deal of reference to her and her attitudes, but that what is found there will tend to strengthen our own position with respect to Emma, that we [Utah Mormons] attempted to treat her fairly and she refused to allow us to do so, but insisted on having her own way in everything. They asked whether this information should not be shared with Richard Anderson, who is editing the Joseph and Emma letters, and with Valeen [Tippetts] Avery and Linda [King] Newell, who are writing the biography of Emma. I am going to bring this up with Brother Durham on Thursday if possible to get his reaction. If not able to do so, I'll bring it up next Tuesday when we have our meeting.
Gunn McKay phoned this afternoon to reflect that in the early years the Church gave the appearance of being "up front" or avant-garde, in our enlightened approach to the family, recreation, education, new thought, and so on, and today many people think that the only proper stance is one of ultra conservatism, aka Cleon Skousen. He wanted to know if anyone had reflected on this and written articles or given speeches that might be helpful for him to read. He obviously is feeling a little uncomfortable with the application of labels like liberal and conservative, and wants to demonstrate that a person can be labeled liberal and still be right in line with Mormon tradition.
[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]