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RedSox

Church History in Church Materials

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This is an interesting question that intrigues me. Should the Church desterilize their official materials? Should polygamy and prohibition on the priesthood be addressed in their materials?

Some will say that is the obligation of the church member to do their research. While in the U.S. and Canada may have ample access, what about Church members in Ghana, Kenya, or other similar places? I had a friend from Kenya who said that he had never heard of the prohibition on the priesthood until he had been in Utah for 18 months. Should he have known? The missionaries didn't tell him. In my experience, some general authorities don't know, or don't admit to knowing, some of the more difficult aspects of Church history.

So, what do you think? Is it the Church's obligation to inform its members or is it the members duty to inform themselves, even if the information is only available through the agents of the church (missionaries, leaders, etc.)

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Both polygamy and the 1978 revelation on priesthood (which necessarily entails mention of the pre-1978 priesthood ordination ban) are discussed in Church materials -- e.g., in My Kingdom Shall Roll Forth and in Our Heritage each of which has been used at least twice in the Gospel Doctrine teaching cycle (i.e., for a total of at least four occurrences in the Gospel Doctrine teaching cycle during recent years). Both are also discussed in Church HIstory in the Fulness of Times, the textbook used in the Church's college-level religion courses on all three BYU campuses and throughout the Institute system.

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I suspect the popular answer will be why should they when the information can readily be found on the Internet. If this is so, then there simply needs to be more Internet access for third world countries. This could help with other educational efforts as well.

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This is an interesting question that intrigues me. Should the Church desterilize their official materials? Should polygamy and prohibition on the priesthood be addressed in their materials?

Some will say that is the obligation of the church member to do their research. While in the U.S. and Canada may have ample access, what about Church members in Ghana, Kenya, or other similar places? I had a friend from Kenya who said that he had never heard of the prohibition on the priesthood until he had been in Utah for 18 months. Should he have known? The missionaries didn't tell him. In my experience, some general authorities don't know, or don't admit to knowing, some of the more difficult aspects of Church history.

So, what do you think? Is it the Church's obligation to inform its members or is it the members duty to inform themselves, even if the information is only available through the agents of the church (missionaries, leaders, etc.)

I think that the church has an obligation not to hide its history, but I think that the church has the right to weigh and balance what it will present, according to priorities. I think that the church's first priority is to build faith in the savior and in the gospel as it has been restored to the earth.

After having said that, I think that this issue really becomes more of a point of how you personally feel the church should balance what it presents. Should the church spend more time on these points of history? Or is it branching off too much and needs to get back to the fundamentals? I remember seeing several articles in 70s and 80s ensigns about deep doctrine issues and some obscure details of church history, and thinking "you know, these ensigns really weren't all that Christ centered."

Personally, I do wish that the church would present more stuff on polygamy, the priesthood ban, etc, in its materials, but I don't let it be a hangup for me, so long as the church doesn't hide these things. And despite anti-Mo's constant clamoring about a "coverup," I know too much to believe in that. There are LDS who lean both ways on this issue, and I think that as long as we do better than finding fault with the church or the leadership, things will turn out alright.

Who knows but what, in these areas of growing church membership, the church will move in this direction? The wheels of the church grind slow, but they grind fine, as my mission president used to say.

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This is an interesting question that intrigues me. Should the Church desterilize their official materials?

The materials are not "sterile". It's all there if you look. If you don't look, don't blame it on the Church.

Should polygamy and prohibition on the priesthood be addressed in their materials?

Church materials do adress these issues, especially the two Official Declarations in the D&C.

Some will say that is the obligation of the church member to do their research.

It is.

While in the U.S. and Canada may have ample access, what about Church members in Ghana, Kenya, or other similar places?

They have what they need. And they have the spirit.

I had a friend from Kenya who said that he had never heard of the prohibition on the priesthood until he had been in Utah for 18 months. Should he have known?

Yes.

The missionaries didn't tell him. In my experience, some general authorities don't know, or don't admit to knowing, some of the more difficult aspects of Church history.

They are called as witnesses and leaders, not historians. It would probably frighten you if you realized how much you don't know about Church history. Yet, somehow, life goes on.

So, what do you think? Is it the Church's obligation to inform its members or is it the members duty to inform themselves, even if the information is only available through the agents of the church (missionaries, leaders, etc.)

The Church is supposed to Proclaim the Gospel, Perfect the Saints, and Redeem the Dead. How do historical issues help any of these goals?

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This is an interesting question that intrigues me.  Should the Church desterilize their official materials?  Should polygamy and prohibition on the priesthood be addressed in their materials?

Some will say that is the obligation of the church member to do their research.  While in the U.S. and Canada may have ample access, what about Church members in Ghana, Kenya, or other similar places?  I had a friend from Kenya who said that he had never heard of the prohibition on the priesthood until he had been in Utah for 18 months.  Should he have known?  The missionaries didn't tell him.  In my experience, some general authorities don't know, or don't admit to knowing, some of the more difficult aspects of Church history.

So, what do you think?  Is it the Church's obligation to inform its members or is it the members duty to inform themselves, even if the information is only available through the agents of the church (missionaries, leaders, etc.)

To a certain extent B. H. Roberts did this, in his writing of the Comprehensive

History of the Church, which is slightly less faith-promoting than the Documentary

History, generally cited by LDS writers.

Leonard Arrington's plan, for a multi-volume Church History series, might have also

worked in this direction, had it ever been completed.

I still see modern LDS citing Preston Nibley and Joseph F. Smith, on matters of LDS

history. It seems that an entire era of scholarship has slipped into obscurity, so far

as the average member goes.

A couple of months back, in my regular e-mail exchanges, I advised one TBM to

consult some articles in BYU Studies for a clearer view of certain past events.

Her reply was a dismissive, "that stuff is for eggheads..."

Maybe so.

UD

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It just isn't what the church is about.

The Church operates on the assumption that it is, indeed, true. Given that, all that matters is that it get as many people as possible to be faithful and obedient members. If some information hurts faith or obedience, then it is better not to bring it up, and even actively avoid it.

Now, it might make sense to present 'challenging' information in small, antidote-like quantities, in order to prevent a future loss of faith.

The only other case I can think of where the leaders should be obligated to provide difficult facts is if they think there is some probability that they are wrong and the church isn't true. In that case, they would be more obligated to give people the information to decide for themselves.

But if they believe it, then why wouldn't they filter information in a helpful way? That is their job.

Heck, they might even want to filter that information out for themselves.

------------------------------

That said, I'm happy I finally (belatedly, I think) got that information without the church's direct help. I think it helped me to focus on the evidence of the claim of truth, rather than taking it as a given.

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I had a friend from Kenya who said that he had never heard of the prohibition on the priesthood until he had been in Utah for 18 months. Should he have known?

This comes up so often that I am curious....do Baptists and other Protestant groups inform the same people that they fought civil rights and that their churches are still segregated for the most part? How do they deal with their past when it comes to new converts? What can we learn from that?

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So many of the critics of the Church operate on the assumption that every controversial tidbit of Church History is true, and that if the Church doesn't publish them in their missionary materials they must be hiding something.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missonary body will continue to preach and teach the basics of the Gospel, and the History of the restoration as it applies to that message. There will of course be venues where the tidbits are kicked back and forth between "eggheads and apologists", and those will also find the light of day in some instructional manuals, ensign articles and other Church resources, but we probably won't be seeing "Translation of Scripture - Rocks in Hat or Through a veil thinly?" as the title of a Sunday School lesson.

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I had a friend from Kenya who said that he had never heard of the prohibition on the priesthood until he had been in Utah for 18 months.  Should he have known?

This comes up so often that I am curious....do Baptists and other Protestant groups inform the same people that they fought civil rights and that their churches are still segregated for the most part? How do they deal with their past when it comes to new converts? What can we learn from that?

To become more congregational and decentralized, perhaps?

Critics might castigate some particular Southern Baptist congregation for events

and beliefs of the not too distant past, and the members might truthfull reply, "It

wasn't US who said and did that -- we have always been religious progressives."

Denominational uniformity means that all must take the heat for some,

even if the some are later compelled to recant certain problematic teachings

(as McConkie did in '78).

UD

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Like any meme, the LDS church is only obligated to perpetuate its own existence. To ask it to do anything more is like asking a virus to please tell people to wash their hands often.

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Like any meme, the LDS church is only obligated to perpetuate its own existence.  To ask it to do anything more is like asking a virus to please tell people to wash their hands often.

Oh, I think we can be forgiven, for expecting just a tad more, from the leaders of

God's "one and only true and restored church" upon the face of the earth.

The world waits expectantly for God's only world-class oracle, to communicate

guidance and counsel for these "last days."

And-- oh yes, TRUTH -- did I mention "Truth?"

If Truth is not forthcoming from the "one true church," then where else could that

expectant world go to hear it?

We are accused here of polygamy, and actions the most indelicate, obscene, and disgusting, such that none but a corrupt and depraved heart could have contrived. These things are too outrageous to admit of belief; therefore leaving the sisters of the "White Veil," the "Black Veil," and all the other veils, with those gentlemen to dispose of, together with their authors, as they think best, I shall content myself by reading our views of chastity and marriage, from a work published by us, containing some of the articles of our Faith. "Doctrine and Covenants," page 330.

"1. According to the custom of all civilised nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies; therefore we believe that all marriages in this Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose; and that the solemnization should be performed by a presiding High Priest, High Priest, Bishop, Elder, or Priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority. We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this church from marrying out of the church, if it be their determination so to do, but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

"2. Marriage should be celebrated with prayer and thanksgiving; and at the solemnization, the persons to be married, standing together, the man on the right, and the woman on the left, shall be addressed by the person officiating, as he shall be directed by the Holy Spirit; and if there be no legal objections, he shall say, calling each by their names, "You both mutually agree to be each other's companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is, keeping ourselves wholly for each other, and from all others during your lives." And when they shall have answered "Yes," he shall pronounce them husband and wife, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by virtue of the laws of the country, and authority vested in him. 'May God add his blessing, and keep you to fulfil your covenant from henceforth, and for ever. Amen.'

"3. The Clerk of every Church should keep a record of the marriages solemnized in his branch.

"4. All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this Church should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this Church of Jesus Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband; neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband. All children are bound by law to obey their parents; and to influence them to embrace any religious faith, or be baptized, or leave their parents without their consent, is unlawful and unjust. We believe that husbands, parents, and masters, who exercise control over their wives, children, and servants, and prevent them from embracing the truth, will have to answer for that sin."

Mr. Robertson talks about our bold and audacious pretensions. I may be a little

out of order in speaking on this subject, but I am following the remarks made by my opponents, and the thing must rest with them. They bring certain charges against me; and I, of course, am bound to reply....

John Taylor, 1850

Did I mention "Truth?"

UD

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Like any meme, the LDS church is only obligated to perpetuate its own existence.

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This document dates to 1850, two years prior to the church's announcement of the church's doctrine.

I don't think we should be too hasty to judge them:

Just tell me that it will never happen again -- that the top leadership will never again

cover over a major secret activity, with a 10-year string of falsehoods, prevarication

and downright institution-wide deception.

If I can truly believe that those bad old days are over, then I have no bone to pick

with apostles long dead and gone.

Of course, you understand, if this sort of thing had not gone on -- that the RLDS

Church probably would have never been formed?

In 1850 (I think it was) a couple of wagon-loads of my ancestral family left

Kanesville for "the Valley." Before leaving, they stopped and received assurances

from Q-12 President (and President of the Church east of the Rockies) Orson Hyde.

They specifically asked him if the rumors of secret Mormon polygamy in Deseret

were true -- and, according to their later correspondence, Hyde specifically denied

that any such thing was occuring.

Upon their arrival at Great Salt Lake, the family members saw polygamy being

openly practiced, and left the next season when travel was possible. When they

got back to Kanesville, Hyde condemned them for "traveling in an unorganized

emigrating party" and turned the entire family over to the buffettings of Satan.

If I could get my hands on the Kanesville High Council Minutes for 1851, I could

probably provide an exact date.

Now -- if this sort of lying in the name of the Lord is over and done with --

and we can trust that the topmost leaders will never again cover up such secrets

-- THEN, yes, I agree, "we should [not] be too hasty to judge them."

UD

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Frankly, this is personally my biggest issue with the LDS Church. :P

I think it is utterly disturbing to lay it on a new convert to discover these key "issues" (and many many others) for themselves.....if ever they even do due to the fact the LDS Church does not exactly make it easy to find this information.

It is sadly laughable to even suggest that people in countries outside the US even would be able to acquire such information without access to the internet.

Therefore serious key information is being withheld and the convert is truly making an uninformed decision about the nature of your church.

You would think LDS would be interested in informed genuine converts so that there likely wouldn't be any risk to testimonies upon hearing of controversial aspects of the church. Instead it is clear to me that the real goal is to simply baptize in the quickest time possible regardless of how much the person seems to understand of their own new religion. Then the new convert comes to FAIR and is publicly humilated and ridiculed for admitting not ever knowing this or that.

Which is why it takes nearly a YEAR to become Catholic. We want to be sure EVERYTHING is covered. There is usually no controversial subject that comes up later that has a Catholic convert all upset that wasn't touched upon or fully addressed in RCIA. We also have the advantage of having an official and "approved" doctrine that addresses every possible thing for referral.

*Any of you are welcome to attend RCIA at a local parish even if you have no intention of converting, but just so you can learn more and ask any question your little heart desires. Believe me, they've heard them all.

I've suggested it numerous times on this board.....don't shy away from those things that make Mormons Mormons. Embrace that history, the teachings, the beliefs.....be proud of it. I seriously have no problems with LDS that are able to do that and in fact, respect them very much. What bothers me the most is this "wolf in sheep's clothing" approach to unsuspecting converts which seems to be the official approach.

This is a tremendous opportunity for your church to take these controversial aspects and present it on their own terms to any potential converts. Allow an open forum for candidates to ask any question they like and have someone be able to give official answers.

*SIGH*

We all know that won't happen, don't we? Furthermore, we all know why. <_<

To those LDS that "own" these controversial aspects of your religion with no apologies --doesn't that just EAT you up?

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We all know that won't happen, don't we? Furthermore, we all know why. :P

To those LDS that "own" these controversial aspects of your religion with no apologies --doesn't that just EAT you up?

I followed your posting, down to the last two sentences, with near perfect agreement.

But the closing seems a bit mean-spirited to me.

Do you wish to make a slight editorial correction?

UD

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I don't know where this stuff is supposedly hidden? I distincly remember Ensign articles on the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Church putting up a monument there. Most of the quotes from Church history and officials are available on lds.org and on BYU and other LDS sites. The history on the LDS Church is very, very well published and mostly by LDS sources.

Are there really lessons in the Catholic investigator lessons there are lessons on the inquisition and the political maneuverings of the Church through the middle ages and reformation from the standpoint of their critics? (Don't get me wrong, this isn't sarcasm or a pot shot, I'm just surprised if they do this as part of the investigator classes.)

How much of the Vatican library is available to the public without reservation?

I think the circumstances of the LDS and RCC are probably more similar than dissimilar in terms of what they share and what they don't in their teaching publications.

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We all know that won't happen, don't we?  Furthermore, we all know why. :P

To those LDS that "own" these controversial aspects of your religion with no apologies --doesn't that just EAT you up?

I followed your posting, down to the last two sentences, with near perfect agreement.

But the closing seems a bit mean-spirited to me.

Do you wish to make a slight editorial correction?

UD

Yeah, I guess you might be right....it wasn't meant as such which is why I had the sly guy <_< on there.

What I meant to imply there was that the LDS know (as do a few others ) that they would likely not gain as many converts with this type of new approach than if they stuck to their current practice....especially attempting to sell their brand as mainstream Christianity.

If it's not broke, why fix it---right? I guess they don't think its broke yet. :unsure:

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I don't think we're selling ourselves as mainstream Christianity. That's an anti-mormon claim, and I've not seen it happen. We still talk openly about apostacy and the need for a restoration early on in our missionary talks. We are very up front with claims about Joseph being a prophet and of course we proclaim the Book of Mormon as revealed scripture.

I think what we do react too are the claims that we aren't Christian in the sense of believing that Jesus Christ is our Savior. That one has us giving away copies of the Bible and reminding people we believe in those scriptures too.

As far as being eaten up. I don't expect Prophets to be perfect. Moses wasn't, Jacob wasn't, why should Joseph and Brigham be? Setting those types of unrealistic expectations is very dangerous. Pointing fingers at others religious leaders is equally dangerous. Let people reveal their quirks as they see fit. I'm not for outing Catholics, protestants or any others... Let them teach about themselves as they see fit. You won't find much criticism about others on lds.org or in our teaching materials either.

As far as being broke... do you think Catholicism is broke, and do you go about teaching others how it is?

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Uncle Dale, you are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks for the tidbits that touch so many subjects.

Now -- if this sort of lying in the name of the Lord is over and done with --

and we can trust that the topmost leaders will never again cover up such secrets

-- THEN, yes, I agree, "we should [not] be too hasty to judge them."

I hope the members do rest assured that no such cover up will again occur. Seriously, how could it? Has anyone seen the latest photo of the members of the twelve and the first presidency? These guys are just grateful to get to bed at a decent hour. Who has the energy for a cover-up? :P

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What I meant to imply there was that the LDS know (as do a few others ) that they would likely not gain as many converts with this type of new approach than if they stuck to their current practice....especially attempting to sell their brand as mainstream Christianity.

Only those who are terminally clueless about the Church of Jesus Christ really believe that we are "attempting to sell [our] brand as mainstream Christianity." Although there are a lot more people who assert that than who actually believe it. Are you, by any chance, one of them?

But you've held up your church as a righteous example of "telling all" before baptism. So tell us, CG: in those RCIA classes you wax so rapturous about, how many hours are spent discussing the Reign of the Harlots? In how much detail do they examine the interrogation practices of the Inquisition? Is it disclosed that the Roman Inquisition was still torturing heretics up until the time Garibaldi's army captured the city, just as the Spanish Inquisition did until Napoleon's army took over? When the RCIA teacher explains about popes deposing monarchs, does she do so proudly or regretfully? Are they told about the Indulgence given to the soldiers who participated in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre? Are they told about Indulgences at all? Is the depopulation of the Languedoc region of France discussed in any detail?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Regards,

Pahoran

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Sigh. While Pahoran's response was a little more pointed and detailed than mine...

I doubt either of us should hold our breath waiting for a response.

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catholic girl, if you didn't mean to come off as arrogant, holier than thou and condescending, I apologize. But that was one arrogant holier than thou and condescending post.

I "own" all the Church history. And I know it. I'm not an ignorant little twit that you seem to think is the condition of most LDS. God is perfect. Men are not. However, I don't think you will find a better bunch of people than LDS in the history of any church or organization. As soon as God tells you every communication He had with Joseph, Brigham, and the other leaders of the Church, then you can criticize, or act smug.

Are you sure you didn't sleep through Sister Agnes Mary's lessons preparing for confirmation? My sister-in-law went to Catholic school, and she can blister your ears about what she didn't find out before her confirmation.

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To those LDS that "own" these controversial aspects of your religion with no apologies --doesn't that just EAT you up?

Here's the thing, though -

When you're proselyting, is it your duty to bring up everything that the critics have said against the church? A lot of people freak out and quit before they can hear the whole story. The duty of the missionaries is to present the core teachings of the gospel and help people to live them - faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost. If you go off on other tangents, before long, don't these things get obscured?

Is baptism an issue of conversion by faith or conversion by indoctrination? If a person has the faith, the testimony, and the repentance to merit baptism, do they really have to wait? Do we have to say "well, first, we need to tell you about kirtland, independance, far west, nauvoo, salt lake..."? Is baptism like taking a final exam, where you need to study up on a number of academic topics before you take that step?

It wasn't like we were hiding things from people. If they brought up questions about church history and other stuff, we did our best to answer or point to the answers. And the church's website addresses these issues and questions that other people had. So it wasn't like they were ignorant. In fact, every serious investigator I ever taught or baptized as a missionary would always hear something from the anti-Mormons at one point or another. I was prepared and fielded questions on a great variety of issues.

So, yes, I own the controversial aspects of my religion (to a degree - there's always something of which I'm ignorant), and no, to be honest, it doesn't eat me up.

Though I can see why you'd have the impression that you have. Try to look at it from my angle and see how you feel.

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Uncle Dale, you are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks for the tidbits that touch so many subjects.

We all have our hobbies, I suppose.

I'm really terrible when it comes to hockey teams, hip hop lyrics, and fudge recipes.

d'Unk

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