Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just released: The Diaries of Apostle Abraham H. Cannon, 1889-1895

Excerpts of Important Mormon Diary Published, Signature Books

Justice Stephen J. Field of the U.S. Supreme CourtThis week Signature Books, a Salt Lake City-based publisher, is releasing the apostle's writings under the title, Candid Insights of a Mormon Apostle: The Diaries of Abraham H. Cannon, 1889-1895. The compiler and editor is historian Edward Leo Lyman. This volume is the twelfth volume in the press's Significant Mormon Diaries Series.

Abraham Cannon was the fourth son of George Q. Cannon, a member of the Mormon First Presidency, who at the time was an influential regional power-broker. Because of his father's prominence, Abraham was introduced at an early age to the inside dealings of Utah Territory's realpolitik. As a bonus to modern historians, Abraham learned, as an editor at the Deseret News, to express himself clearly, with an eye for historically important details. 

Cannon's diaries have often been cited by historians and were even published once before. In 2004, LDS Church employee Dennis B. Horne released a self-published version that introduced the reading public to the significance of Cannon's writings. At the same time, Horne left out material he found "too sacred to publish," "transgressions of Church members," "controversial items," and entries having to do with "business and politics … financial matters."

"One should not argue with Horne's choice to leave out significant materials in his abridgment, which he felt were too sacred or personal, involving transgressions of individual Church members," Lyman responded when asked. "However," Lyman continued, "items that have to do with business and politics, and editorial comments on such subjects, are the real strength of the new volume and my own personal interest."

"In addition," says Lyman, "my volume contains the deliberations and decisions of the First Presidency and apostles prior to the Manifesto ending polygamy, which are found nowhere else."

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