50 years ago today - February 6, 1974-Wednesday

[Leonard Arrington]

The other day Brother [Joseph] Anderson said that he was very disturbed at the answer to the question on who was the first presiding bishop submitted to the Ensign by Mike Quinn. This is in the January 1974 issue. Elder Anderson said that he did not think that it was proper for one of our employees to change the Church history on such an important matter without the approval of the First Presidency. I gave Elder Anderson the background on the article. I said that Mike had submitted a fully documented article to me and that I had suggested to him that he submit it to the Ensign for publication. The Ensign, without consulting with us, had eliminated much of the explanatory and documentary material and published it as simply the answer to a question. In a way, the Ensign abridgement had made it appear to be a statement that Edward Partridge was not the first presiding bishop, without giving adequately the reasons why he believed this to be true. ... The next afternoon, Elder Anderson
came into my office saying that he had just had a conference with President [Spencer W.] Kimball and in the course of the conference he had brought this up. He gave me a copy of the letter which the Lyman family had written to him complaining about Mike's article and said that he had read it to President Kimball and that he and President Kimball had agreed that I should write a letter of apology for publication in the Ensign. He specifically used the word apology although at the time I could not see anything to apologize for. We were right in the facts. It was not our fault it was published the way it was, and it was not our fault that the article had not been cleared since nobody has suggested that we ought to clear all of our articles with the First Presidency.

Anyway, I wrote a letter....

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

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