LDS Church leaders have decided to stay in the censorship business. This time over the papers of the late Leonard Arrington, noted historian. My church just can’t seem to leave Arrington alone, even after death. Ironically, he loved the Church deeply.
Quoting from the SLTrib, Kristen Moulton states:
Leonard Arrington wanted his 750-box collection of personal papers, books, speeches and research to be archived at USU, where it would be available to researchers in the Special Collections and Archives at Merrill-Cazier Library.
But within 3 years of his death in 1999, a dispute erupted over ownership of this masssive collection, which includes his 50-box diary.
The LDS Church asserted that it owned 60 percent of the collection owing to Arrington’s 8 years as church historian, starting in 1972, and 2 more as head of the faith’s history division.
Arrington’s family and USU disagreed. After a tense month of negotiations, the church settled for half a box of documents.
The family said the handful given to the church–papers pertaining to temple ceremonies and minutes from Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meetings–had been filed mistakenly with Arrington’s personal collection.
Apparently one of concerns over the Arrington papers was embarassing revelations about LDS Church leaders: “A now-deceased apostle used to smoke cigars earlier in his life . . .”
So what? Do we think any less of Mother Teresa because she had doubts, or of Trappist monk Thomas Merton because he had at least an emotional affair (and maybe a physical one ) with a woman half his age. I think not. None of us is perfect. Mormon leaders need to quit trying to control our history.