Views from Without and Within



Mormon historian Leonard J. Arrington addresses a literature session of the 1973 Mormon Arts Festival. The evolution of the public perception of Mormonism, divided into three periods: (1) Joseph Smith’s era and reports of his character, (2) after the LDS settlement in the Great Basin, and (3) from the 1930s on, when people began to realize that Mormons are honest, hardworking, and friendly. Perceptions of the Church have not always been positive. During the Great Basin phase of the Church, anti-Mormon literature created its own image of Mormons as terroristic, degraded, and motivated by base passions. Arrington calls for a rejuvenation of carrying the gospel forward by creating a positive image of the modern Church through literary endeavors.

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