40 years ago today - Jun 7, 1983-Wednesday

[Leonard Arrington]

People in Logan knew little of the maneuverings of authorities with opposing points of view, of the irritating problems with which the Church was confronted, of the disagreements and occasional hostility within "the Church family." Just as stormy seas have the aspect of placidity when viewed from the height of an airplane, or from the distance of a mountain peak, so Salt Lake City, from the ninety-mile distance of Cache Valley, seemed to be a harmonious and unblemished community. ... We had the impression that people in the headquarters city were untroubled by doubts, were all firm in the faith, were blessed by God in solving their various problems.

As the General Authorities were zealous in promoting this image, they came to believe it so sincerely that some of them, at least, attributed all the problems of the Church to sinister influences from outside the Church. In-migrants from the East and Midwest, the pervasive influence of Californians, blacks, Mexicans, Greeks, Italians-these were the people who brought murder, rape, disease and pestilence. Strikers, conflict, delinquency-these were due to the impact of "foreign" professors at the University, outside interests, professional anti-Mormon agitators. The Mormon community, led by wise and imperturbable authorities, was harmonious, unruffled, tranquil, and serene. Outsiders used words like complacent, self-satisfied, smug, placid.

It was only when we moved to Salt Lake City in 1972 and worked at church headquarters did we see the illusory nature of this impression.

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

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