Okay, I double-dog dare anyone, that is any lay person, to walk up to the desk of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections section in the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU and ask to see the personal journals of Richard R. Lyman from say 1920 to 1945 or so. (They have them.) A bagzillinon bucks says you won’t get a peek at them. I happened upon the entry for Richard R. Lyman in Wikipedia while trying to find some dates for some stake presidents portraits we are producing down at work. It stated there the reasons for Elder Lyman’s excommunication from the Church. Lyman was an Apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve for the Mormon Church until 1943 when he was ex’d for a “violation of the Law of Chastity.” The Wikipedia article states more of the details (that go way beyond a little old chastity problem), which are rather embarrassing to the Church if true. You can check it out here. I do have reason to suspect the agenda of the author in the sources of this article, but I think the basic points are probably accurate.
I’m not criticizing the Brethren (well okay, I guess I am—but I’ll deny everything if they ever bring it up, so maybe I’m not), but I think they should just “bare all” and let the chips fall. Keeping things “secret” for the sake of the weakest church members will only come back to bite them even worse later on because of the secrecy.
The main lesson I learned from all of this, and I consider myself down there among the weaklings (sometimes), is that we’re all equally human—even Church leaders. We are always just a hair’s breadth away from falling ALL the time. Whenever we think we’re not, that’s when we’ve already probably fallen. As far as I can see, none of the General Authorities is named Jesus, and therefore we should never expect them to be perfectly living His example all the time. They take the sacrament every week just like little slovenly me. I think its healthy, in a way, to know of their pitfalls and weaknesses (James E. Faust was a Democrat!!!!) as long as we don’t dwell on them or discredit all their good attributes, teachings and examples over some flaw or two, even if they’re “big” ones. Elder Lyman’s was pretty big, granted, but not the end of the world. It was repent-able, barely.
But I still don’t think you’ll get anywhere if you ask to read his journals. I double-dog dare the Church to just publish them buggers and be done with it. Secrecy is usually not the best policy, unless there is something more to the story… hmmm…