New biography tells all about a forthright Mormon historian, Leonard Arrington, who told allHistorians in the News
tags: Mormon, LDS, Leonard Arrington
Somewhere, Leonard Arrington's ghost has pulled up a chair to eavesdrop on Mormonism's contemporary conversation about controversies in the faith's history.
The former LDS Church historian, who died in 1999, likely is smiling, maybe laughing and certainly rejoicing.
But Arrington couldn't have predicted it, says biographer Gregory A. Prince, especially given the struggles the professional historian had in dealing with Mormon ecclesiastical leaders.
And Prince should know. He read and researched more than 20,000 pages of Arrington's massive journals, correspondence and weekly letters to his kids to produce the just-published "Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History." He also interviewed more than 100 friends, family members and associates to create a full-bodied picture of the man.
"Leonard," Prince says with affection, would "never have dreamed of having access to documents" about some of the church's darkest episodes — including the infamous slaughter of about 120 men, women and children by Mormon settlers at Mountain Meadows — that today's LDS historians take for granted. ...