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Blair at the Maxwell Institute blog is also posting notes. He obviously listens and writes about twice as fast as I do.

Thanks Dave.

"We need better inoculation! Avoid the rigid black-and-white approach to belief employed by fundamentalist Christians. Learn to be flexible in your approach to gospel issues, and modify views about peripheral issues (Noah's flood, the papyri, etc.) in light of new information"
Dave, were these Ash's sentiments, or your feelings based on the information that Church leaders are not familiar with Church history?

Dave responds:

Michael, those words are my summary of Ash's remarks. When I use quotation marks, then it is a relevant phrase I managed to catch and repeat. So Ash actually said, "LDS General Authorities may not be well versed in LDS history."

For comparison, go read Blair's notes of Ash's remarks, posted at the Maxwell Institute blog (link above). On this point, Blair wrote: "He observes, citing D. Michael Quinn, that church leaders typically have the same knowledge of Church history that average Seminary graduates have, which isn’t very in-depth."

While there's no doubt there are ignorant leaders I'm skeptical leaders are as ignorant as the typical member. My experience is that leaders disproportionately find Mormonism interesting and read a lot of stuff on Mormonism. Most leaders have a lot of Mormon books on their shelves. And not just devotional Deseret Books stuff. You can ask how many of the books they've read of course. (I suspect the majority of Nibley books on peoples shelves haven't really been read, for example)

BTW - if anyone has control on the ldsblogs.org site, my blog isn't showing up for some reason. I tried sending email to the owners but I've not seen any response.

I am guessing that the amount of time that a particular general authority has spent studying LDS history can be affected by his professional interests. For example, Dallin Oaks was a founder of Dialogue, a law professor at University of Chicago, and co-authored the book Carthage Conspiracy, about the assasination of Jioseph and Hyrum Smith and the trial of some of the killers.

Jeff Holland has a PhD in American Studies from Yale, so my guess is that his knowledge of US history in the 1830s is much greater than average.

I would think that the GAs who had academic careers would also have a higher than average likelihood to have read books on LDS history as part of their recreation, and to have been introduced to them through academic colleagues.

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