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Thank you for the great writeup, Dave. This is very high on my list and I can't wait to get to it. I have read Arrington's account of the 1978 revelation contained in it and it is one of the most moving things on the topic I have ever read.


Excellent summary of events. One of Arrington's relatives was one of my mission comps, and I think your analysis is spot on. Isn't it more than fair to say we have some false prophets amoung our leadership that seem to do Satan's bidding w/ their lack of candor? Sort of like people like Marcos being the best friend communism ever had?

Steve EM, it's not hard to see why some leaders viewed "full disclosure" LDS history as a threat or simply as a misguided approach to "official" history -- there is nothing irresponsible about taking that position, although it's not one I would agree with. Actually, what surprised me reading Arrington's account was the fact that several key leaders fully supported the newer approach. I think the positive response by LDS leaders to Rough Stone Rolling (this according to Bushman himself) is another good indication that "traditionalist history" is dead everywhere except CES and Correlation.

I'm not sure I'd agree with your reading of the so-called September Six. (I say so-called because I think you'd agree Gileadi hardly fits the mold.) The problem though appears to be that the fundamental issue with them wasn't history but more a kind of activism. Arguably Quinn might be the exception, except that it was widely reported that only the last few paragraphs of his paper in Women and Authority posed the problem -- that and then the controversy over his sexuality which I believe never was admitted to be part of the controversy. Even though it was widely discussed at the time.

I too really loved this book. I especially loved the tension created between the desire to be irritated by the decision making patterns of the brethren (non-inclusion in the process being the point of dissonance) and the admission that moving to BYU was probably the best thing that could have happened. I also loved the excerpt on the revelation on the priesthood, so much so I've got it typed out and carry it in my scriptures.

I second Dave's recommendation. This book was one of my first exposures to the politics of Mormon history. Arrington's obvious love of both church and history combined with his wit made it a pleasure to read. The thing I perhaps admire most about this book is Arrington's fairness and forthright willingness to disagree without demonizing those he disagreed with.

Clark, I'm not sure anyone really has a good "reading" of S6. I threw it in only because if you draw a straight line from Mormon Experience to RSR, S6 doesn't seem to fit. But that's a different discussion.


Excellent review. I disagree somewhat with your assessment of the September Six. Unfortunately, it was not an isolated incident but the first peak of a campaign that begun in 1974 and continues to this day. The Tom Murphy and Grant Palmer affairs come to mind. Nate Oman's recent criticism documents how well the efforts of the Brethren to stigmatize Sunstone have taken hold.

The exceptions of CES and correlation are pretty big exceptions. If it were not for the Internet then most Mormons abroad, may be even most north Americans, would have to rely exclusively on approved material. Today's openness is due to forces that are beyond the control of LDS leadership.

Unfortunately, the term free agency has been purged from Mormon lingo. Obedience is the party line.

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