40 years ago today - Nov 15, 1981-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]

Several years ago Duane was called in about something he had written about the publication of the Earth and Man by James E. Talmage. Seems that Joseph Fielding Smith had published that this was published by violating instruction from the First Presidency, and that in no sense was it published with Church approval or permission. Joseph Fielding had pulled out of the files a letter signed by J. Reuben Clark and his associates in the First Presidency which reviewed events connected with the publication of that paper and saying that it was published specifically without their approval. And yet it was obvious that Talmage would not have published it without their approval. How explain? Duane got approval from someone (I assume Don Schmidt but not sure) to examine the papers of Heber J. Grant and found that on a certain day there is an entry in his diary which says that he and other members of the First Presidency had met with Elder [James E.] Talmage, reviewed the paper, and gave explicit approval to its publication. How explain the later letter? It is obviously something Joseph Fielding had gotten J. Reuben Clark to do. He had written the letter and got others to sign it without fully informing them of its nature and importance. Anyway, Duane is about to publish, I think in Dialogue, this matter, so that the Earth and Man is no longer under a cloud.

Max Parkin told me the best population estimates [of Mormons in Missouri] are by Milt Backman or Lyndon Cook.61 I telephoned Lyndon and he said the number of LDS in Missouri in 1838 was about eight thousand. Evidence suggests that about 6,500 left Missouri for Illinois. He suggests about two to three thousand settled around Quincy [Illinois] for a temporary period. He says our previous estimates have been too high.

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

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