45 years ago today - Feb 15, 1979-Thursday

[Leonard Arrington]

Daken Broadhead ... said that back in the '30s he and a few other young men had a study group that met every other week or so. They were so formal in the group that they kept minutes. They had a number of General Authorities speak to them and arranged conferences occasionally with General Authorities about things which perplexed them. ... Levi Edgar [Young] ... invited [Arther Conan] Doyle to speak-I think on spiritualism. He was invited to speak in the [Salt Lake] Tabernacle. This greatly surprised him, as he thought the Mormons would be so angry about what he had written about them. But he was assured he would receive a polite reception and after his talk he was invited to visit and meet with a variety of important people. He expressed himself as being embarrassed about what he had previously published, and blamed it to some extent on researchers who furnished him material from sources that were unreliable but which they didn't realize to be the case. ...

Another speaker was James E. Talmage, who told them about his experience with his address entitled "The Earth and Man." Elder Talmage said that this talk had been given in the Sunday afternoon meeting held in the tabernacle in the early 1930s. All of these talks were published the following Saturday in the Deseret News, but Elder Talmage's did not appear. It did not appear the next weekend, nor the next. After about three or four months after it was given[,] it did not appear. He said that the Council of Twelve [Apostles] couldn't agree on its publication for several months. Some of them disagreed or were reluctant to have a talk on this controversial subject [evolution].

Elder Talmage said he had prepared the talk eighteen years before and had hesitated delivering it in a public setting because he knew that certain of the brethren would oppose certain of his statements. So he bided his time and after certain brethren had died, he then felt free to present it. Even so, there was still reluctance on the part of some of the Brethren. Specifically, Joseph Fielding Smith did not feel comfortable with his message or with the publication of it. Because of popularity of the talk, however, and the intense interest in it, it was printed as a pamphlet by Deseret Book, but when the supply of the pamphlet was exhausted, they refused to print any more. In more recent years it was republished in the Instructor [Dec. 1965] or possibly Improvement Era or Ensign.

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

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