40 years ago today - Aug 11, 1981-Tuesday

[Leonard Arrington]

... While the Mormon Heritage Series had good support from Elder [Alvin R.] Dyer and Elder [Joseph] Anderson we became aware in 1978 that it did not have full support from all members of the Twelve [Apostles]; specifically two members of the Twelve had reservation about the series: Elder [Mark E.] Petersen and Elder [Boyd K.] Packer. [Arrington describes this series: "Early volumes projected in this series were: letters of Brigham Young to his sons to be edited by Dean Jessee; letters of Brigham Young to Indian Chiefs to be edited by Dean Jessee; the holograph [handwritten] writings of Joseph Smith to be edited by Dean Jessee; the sermons of Heber C. Kimball to be edited by Stan Kimball; documents relating to the spread of the gospel overseas to be edited by Spencer Palmer].

Both had their confidence in our judgment marred by our leaving in the Brigham Young letters to his sons volume a reference in which Brigham tells his son Brigham Young, Jr., while on a mission in England that he ought to give serious consideration to giving up his use of tobacco while he was a missionary. There may have been other little things in the volume they did not like. [O]f course our own thinking was you do not build confidence in the integrity of your book if you leave out all of the passages that reflect any problems. We did have excellent reviews on the book and we felt, and continue to feel, very proud of it. We have no second thoughts about how it was handled.

But because of this observation Deseret Book, under the influence of their cautious president Marvin Ashton, have been less enthusiastic about the series than they were in the early 1970s. The result is the heavy editing of some of our things and the name "Mormon Heritage Series" has been removed from some of these books. Examples of the heavy editing are the Spencer Palmer book on The Expanding Church which was cut by about 1/3; the women book by Godfrey and Derr which was cut by about 1/3, the Dean Jessee volume of Joseph Smith holographs which apparently will be run as two volumes published in separate years. ...

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

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