In part 2 of a recent 3 part Mormonstories podcast, Dr. Ted Lyon Jr. reported an interesting remark by a prominent ex-university president about his keeping of a journal. He is reported to have said,
“He saw that I was writing in my diary while I was waiting for him. And he said, “Oh, Ted, you keep a diary.” I said, “Yea.” He said, “I don’t, I wish I…I know I should, but I don’t. And I said, “Why don’t ya?” And he said, “Because I saw what happened to Ernest Wilkinson.” He said, “Wilkinson kept diaries in such detail of all of his doings with the Brethren, and they were, of course, filtered through his very candid but biased eye, and then they were published and these embarrased so many people.” And he said, “I’m afraid whatever I say might be misconstrued years down the line.” He said, “As it is, I write an email, send an email to my kids, and an hour later it’s on somebody’s blog, or somebody’s webpage.”
I found this tid bit very interesting and it led me to wonder how perceptions of the New Mormon History have affected personal record keeping. Have those of us who are somewhat accustomed to the idea of reading a personal diary changed the way we keep our own diaries? Will there be a backlash down the road for historians as individuals become more guarded in their record keeping, or might this be only an anomaly?
Additionally, and ironically, does the posting of this tid bit on a blog only validate the concerns expressed?