January 10, 2015

Patrick Mason in SL Tribune re: Private Church Documents

Why top Mormon leaders’ private writings may never become public
by Peggy Fletcher Stack
Salt Lake Tribune, January 10th, 2016

In a recent Salt Lake Tribune article, Peggy Fletcher Stack discussed the LDS Church’s policy surrounding the journals and other records of their top leaders. While church documents from the nineteenth century are readily available to scholars, the journals, correspondence, and meeting
minutes of recent apostles and church presidents are “off-limits to researchers, or at least severely restricted.” Patrick Mason (Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University) commented that “Religious groups should be able to draw a line around what is most
sacred to them…as long as those acts are not criminal or abusive.” Nevertheless, Mason noted that Mormons believe that God can be seen working in history and therefore “if the church believes that apostles and prophets are called by God, and that God works through them, then the church should be confident that their private documents will reflect that.” In the end, Although the dairies and letters of more recent leaders may show embarrassing aspects of an apostle’s life, Mason argues that the “the church simply has to develop greater maturity.”

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