40 years ago today - Feb 12, 1981-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]

Final examination of Ronald Esplin for the Ph.D. in History at BYU. [[Esplin's dissertation was "The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830-1841."]] ...

Mormon historical literature in the past has been one-sided, either expressing an ideal point of view-we were always right; or an anti-Mormon point of view-you Mormons caused all your own problems. Yours is a straightforward account, trying to discover historical truth, whatever the outcome. To me the pleasure of the dissertation by the fact that you reconciled the traditional pro and anti accounts, pointing out the facts on which earlier accounts were based and why they made the conclusions they did, and then giving the straight dope, which in many instances was neither pro nor anti but somewhere in-between. ...

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

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