40 years ago today - Sep 15, 1983-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]

Took Harriet to the B. H. Roberts Symposium last night. ... Brooke Hopkins: Mormons are unusually interested in what they look like to outsiders. It would be a relief if, when someone discovers a fault, it would be openly discussed. When individuals become so concerned with their image that they try to fix the image instead of dealing with the problems underneath, what they [other people] think of us is more important than what we think of ourselves or what God thinks of us. Mormon history suggests that we began as radicals, non-conformists. Exciting to be a Mormon then. Deeply opposed to American culture. ... Now the Mormons seek acceptance, yearn for a good image. An ambivalent situation, a contradiction: inordinately concerned with their image to others-spend $12 million on a Reader's Digest series. Yet claim to be the true religion which is different from that of "the world." An inordinate fear of disclosure with a cost in emotional and spiritual terms. A public relations church. Masks the fear of facing truth. How we must appear to God, how we can reconcile with the New Testament which would give us self respect. The need to find approval is comic. Even if we convince others that we are great, it only puts dealing with the real problems off.

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

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