40 years ago today - Mar 17, 1981-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]

Apparently Mark Hofmann has furnished xerox copies of the Joseph Smith III ordination to somebody or somebodies. They have been rapidly duplicated, and there are now many copies in circulation. Time magazine has telephoned about it, so has Utah Holiday and other publications. We missed the boat not being allowed to make a public announcement two weeks ago. Because the calls have been coming in last evening and this morning, Earl [Olson] and Elder [G. Homer] Durham have been meeting with Elder [Gordon B.] Hinckley from 7:30 this morning until now-11:30. Don Schmidt has met with them part of that time. Dean Jessee, who has received some of these telephone calls, has been trying to make contact with Elder Durham and Earl without success. Don has now informed him that all telephone calls should be referred to Public Communications. Don says that they have now definitely determined to make a public announcement here today. Why they don't consult Dean Jessee, an authority on the subject, is strange, nor would they consult any other historian for background. It would be interesting to know whether they got access to the minutes of the Council of Fifty in 1844 that are in the First Presidency's office and whether they are using those. P.M. Ron Esplin said that he had talked with Don Schmidt and that Earl, Elder Durham, and Elder Hinckley had spent all morning going through the minutes of the Council of Fifty in the First Presidency's vault looking for the last charge to the Twelve [Apostles]. [[The Last Charge refers to Joseph Smith's alleged authorization of the Twelve to lead the church, expanding on their original calling to oversee only the members located outside of organized stakes (D68C 107:23).]] None of them know even the year. It would have been so simple for them to have consulted any one of our historians, who could have given them the right date. That they would pursue this without calling in a single historian is almost unbelievable-it certainly isn't the Spirit of the Kingdom. It makes one a little resentful, even a little angry. [[Arrington had been denied access to the minutes. See Arrington to Gordon B. Hinckley and Hinckley to Arrington, Mar. 9, 12, 1981.]]

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

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