While I like the trip down history lane given by the blog linked above, the individual writing leaves out some important moments in history
While the church is, without question, paying the price for promoting an overly-simplified “heritage” approach to history, I don’t think the motive was based in intentional deceptiionThat is to say, the author completely skips the formation of the correlation committee and it’s stated goal of making the manuals all tell the same story; and reducing “What it means to be mormon” down to 72 notecards.
In addition here are times the church and the leadership were intentionally deceitful. Anyone who gets this article as evidence that they shouldn’t claim lies can rebut with this post:
- Joseph Smith stood before the public after being on trial and said that he had one wife, when he had more than 17
- Fawn Brodie was excommunicated for writing about Joseph Smith’s wives in “No Man Knows my History”. Today, many of the same facts she uncovered and co-ordinated are published in the Essay on LDS.org as church fact. Brian Hales, work revolved in large part, around the claims made by Brodie.
- Wilford Woodruff stated that the Founding Fathers appeared to him in vision demanding their temple work should be done, when it had previously been done a year before
- Heber J. Grant pushed members to invest in a bank that was nothing more than a hollowed-out burned down building to keep the Quorum of the 12 from going to jail. The investment had to be subsidized by Tens of thousands (Millions in today’s currency) in tithing money or they would have still all lost money.
- The essay on Race in the Priesthood directly contradicts Brigham Young’s own statements on the matter that he gave as doctrine. Despite this, the essay states “Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.” This is a very clear whitewashing as when the leaders gave statements it was accepted as official doctrine, and there is no discussion as to how “official doctrine” becomes unofficial. It leaves that as an exercise for the reader.
The count goes on and on. I could literally spend an entire 24 hours writing about specific lies told by leadership, passed off as revelation, or direct attempts by individuals within the correlation department to deceive members. I leave you with my own tale:
I was EQ instructor and prepping a lesson I turned to the Brigham Young manual. There I saw a quote that said something to the effect of “Celestial marriage … is the benefit of every man”. I forget the exact quote, but I remember the trail. I looked at the footnote for the quote and saw it point to a Deseret News article published in 1977. I remember thinking that someone must have miss attributed the quote; because Brigham didn’t live in 1977; and citing a source rather than a source of a source (Hugh Nibley’s big complaint about Fawn Brodie) is sloppy history/writing. So I looked up that news article and it cited a 1976 manual.
Geez, I thought, I don’t have time to track them all down. I pulled out my copy of “The Prophet Speaks”, published by the church and sold at Deseret Book; supposedly of every talk ever given by Prophets, and looked up the quote. It wasn’t there. Now I have a slew of 1970’s quotes of Brigham Young, and a clearly missing quote in a book published by the church.
So I went to the internet. Typed in the quote that I had and presto, I found the actual quote was “Celestial marriage, which is polygamy, is the benefit of every man”
It was very clear this was intentional deception. This wasn’t the history department trying, and having Leonard Arrington blah blah blah. This was someone who knew the truth and had control and power to alter what members thought, burying their tracks intentionally. And the deception covered a range of news articles, published works, and official church manuals. Finding another dozen or so of these led me to where I am today.
So I will keep saying the church lies, thank you. It’s not a simple matter of Heritage vs. History; this is outright deception, codified and incorporated on an institutional scale.