Jump to content

The Great Church History Cover-up


Pahoran

Recommended Posts

From time to time we are treated to another chorus of the venerable old mantra: the Church "covers up" its history, "hides" all the "embarrassing" bits, and only provides a "whitewashed" version. When it is pointed out that all of the supposedly "embarrassing" bits are available to everyone who troubles themselves to pick up some books and actually read anything, the scope of the cover-up shrinks a bit: it's not that the Church actually "suppresses" those things (thus admitting that the Tanners lied about that) but that it doesn't affirmatively teach them to Primary children.

High on the list of "embarrassing" facts that the Church supposedly "covers up" -- basing this on the jet-engine-toned claims put forward by the accusers -- are three things: plural marriage, the "Expositor" incident, and the fact that Joseph Smith had a gun with him in Carthage Jail, and used it.

Well, yesterday being Sunday (we have to wait another week for Conference) I taught my Primary class the lesson on the martyrdom.

And guess what?

It mentioned the "Expositor" incident. It mentioned the fact that Joseph Smith had a gun with him in Carthage Jail, and used it.

Not only that, but plural marriage was mentioned in passing in a recent lesson.

Now exactly what is the Church trying to "cover up" again?

Regards,

Pahoran

Link to comment

The claim that the Church needs to be responsible for fully disclosing "everything" about its history is pure bunk.

Another aspect of this is that it is humanly impossible for a full disclosure to be made of absolutely everything. What the Church has done is to make a very open effort to provide a Church history department that makes an absolutely incredible amount of material available to anyone who wants to look for it. Of course, this isn't good enough for the critics; they then demand that the Church spoon feed everything negative or controversial about its history in official Church meetings - another logistic impossibility.

Critics miss (and do so on purpose) the fact that the Church itself teaches that the only way to understand its truth claims is through the Spirit. Study of the Book of Mormon is provided as the vehicle for that reception of the spiritual witness. It makes no other claim about any other foundation for understanding the Church; it is only to be done through the ultimate witness of the Spirit. After the foundation is set, then intellectual understanding can be appropriately pursued within that foundational, spiritual framework.

Critics want to redefine how the Church is viewed. They would prefer it to be against the background of history, interpreted, of course, by them. They whine that the foundation of spiritual witness is weak, flawed, fickle, and unreliable. They parade ex-Mormons who were surprised to find out historical "facts" and whine that they have been "lied" to. They want us to believe that the only way to view the Church is through intellectual or rational argument, and that the historical "evidence" provided by them "proves" what the Church "really" is.

In the meantime, those of us who have the spiritual foundation of the witness of the Holy Ghost move ahead knowing that the restored gospel really is what it claims to be. Critics can rage all they want about disclosure, but that will never change the fact that this is God's kingdom on the earth, and He has defined the process of coming into the kingdom.

The Church simply presents its claims, tells the investigatory how to receive a witness, and then encourages those who covenant to obey God to proceed with learning through that spiritual framework. It's really that simple, it really works, and all critical attempts to redefine that will ultimately fail.

Link to comment

From time to time we are treated to another chorus of the venerable old mantra: the Church "covers up" its history, "hides" all the "embarrassing" bits, and only provides a "whitewashed" version. When it is pointed out that all of the supposedly "embarrassing" bits are available to everyone who troubles themselves to pick up some books and actually read anything, the scope of the cover-up shrinks a bit: it's not that the Church actually "suppresses" those things (thus admitting that the Tanners lied about that) but that it doesn't affirmatively teach them to Primary children.

High on the list of "embarrassing" facts that the Church supposedly "covers up" -- basing this on the jet-engine-toned claims put forward by the accusers -- are three things: plural marriage, the "Expositor" incident, and the fact that Joseph Smith had a gun with him in Carthage Jail, and used it.

Well, yesterday being Sunday (we have to wait another week for Conference) I taught my Primary class the lesson on the martyrdom.

And guess what?

It mentioned the "Expositor" incident. It mentioned the fact that Joseph Smith had a gun with him in Carthage Jail, and used it.

Not only that, but plural marriage was mentioned in passing in a recent lesson.

Now exactly what is the Church trying to "cover up" again?

Regards,

Pahoran

When I was a missionary we tract ed out a Lady who also was visited at the same time by the J. W.'s and I don't remember who the third group was. She told all three of us she had been approached by the others, she invited us back because we were the only ones who encouraged her to listen to all three and decided for herself, after praying about it. The other two both told her not to talk to anyone but them. She only listened to one or two discussions but it is interesting that we are the ones always acused of not wanting people to hear all the evidence available.

Link to comment

Now exactly what is the Church trying to "cover up" again?

Some critics are essentially saying [but won't admit it out loud] that if the material presents Joseph as a respectable person, it's a whitewash.

Which is what whitewash implies.

They have a sordid opinion of him.

And if the representation of him doesn't match their opinion, they assume it's the presentation that's flawed.

It doesn't occur to them that their opinion may instead be tainted.

Link to comment

I think some critics are wakening up to the fact that the Church does promote its history and they are realizing it and asking howcome they never knew about this when it, these troublesome things for some, has been around for a very long time. Its as if its not talked about at church-because some one else has done the research and has the interest, then it doesn't exist. So I guess good on them for being a self starter and not spiritually coasting! I wonder percentage of the Church doesn't care about history or even know how history is handled by the historians?

Link to comment

I'll readily confess my 'beginners' level survey of past church educational material, and General Authority addresses. So, can someone point me to, -say in the past six decades- teaching material or addresses that offer a inpirational account of the early Saints' living of plural marriage? Such as you would hear about the pioneer migrations. I would be truly interested in the consumption of such reading.

Link to comment

Pahoran,

How dare you mention those things. Now those kids will know for sure that the church is false. Argh!!

Lol. I think it funny that people say they leave the church over historical issues as if any of those make the church true or false. IOW the church's truth claims don't reside in weathet JS had a gun in carthage or weather or not he destoryed the priniting press. The church is still true even if those things happened.

Link to comment

Some critics are essentially saying [but won't admit it out loud] that if the material presents Joseph as a respectable person, it's a whitewash.

Which is what whitewash implies.

They have a sordid opinion of him.

And if the representation of him doesn't match their opinion, they assume it's the presentation that's flawed.

It doesn't occur to them that their opinion may instead be tainted.

Perfectly and eloquently said.... It's not that the Church doesn't emphasis it's history, it's that it doesn't emphasis anti-mormon false conclusions of it's history. I.E. that we don't paint Joseph as a pedophile, an adulterer, a conman, on and on. Indeed, as you stated, it is in fact their own opinions that are tainted concerning the Church. They use a little truth to tell great lies in every single issue. They are the National Enquirer or 9/11 truthers of religious scholarship, and they don't realize it, making claims that seem convincing, until you actually look deeper into them.

Let's take one of the most common, that is the translation of the Book of Mormon. Anti's like to emphasis Joseph's head in a hat, while the Church emphasizes Joseph siting at a table in front of plates. Well, what's the actual truth? The actual truth is that Joseph used several different methods of translation until he got to the point in which he didn't even use anything, not even the plates being there with him. So, it is true Joseph used a hat with a stone, it is also true that Joseph sat at a table in front of the plates. Now, is the church "lying" when it portrays Joseph in front of the plates instead of his head in a hat? No, first it is truthful, and second, which image would most easily describe Joseph translating the plates? Obviously Joseph sitting at a table in front of the plates would best show this simple direct idea. Thus, there is no "deceit" involved here by the Church, it is simply what works best for showing the point in question, and it still be truthful. Further, the Church isn't trying to show the "translation method" by their portrayal, especially when the actual method was revelation, they are simply showing Joseph with the plates. So, even more directly the Church isn't trying to "hide" anything, because they aren't even trying to show methodology's of translation for the most part. Now if the Church was doing a historical thesis, then of course it would show the various methods of translation. But historical analysis is usually left to those independent of the Church, which is another point which further shows that the Church is not hiding anything OR trying to control the message. Anyway....

Link to comment

I'll readily confess my 'beginners' level survey of past church educational material, and General Authority addresses. So, can someone point me to, -say in the past six decades- teaching material or addresses that offer a inpirational account of the early Saints' living of plural marriage? Such as you would hear about the pioneer migrations. I would be truly interested in the consumption of such reading.

I wish you could have met my mother. She told me some really inspirational stories about women in plural marriages. One was married to Brigham Young. Cannot remember her name. I should because I am going senile and am supposed to remember things that happened long ago with clarity and forget recent events. I can't remember anything.

But this woman crossed the plains with one of the handcart companies and her legs were frozen so badly that they had to be amputated below the knees. She had her own cabin and maintained a spotless house.

Of course that is not from teaching materials. The point is that my mother knew about those things before the advent of the internet. The phone and television was invented, but we had neither. And somehow my mother, who was a convert knew about the plural marriages of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. What is more, it bothered her not a bit because she had a firm testimony that they both were prophets called of God and that plural marriage was instituted by God.

Glenn

Link to comment

I'll readily confess my 'beginners' level survey of past church educational material, and General Authority addresses. So, can someone point me to, -say in the past six decades- teaching material or addresses that offer a inpirational account of the early Saints' living of plural marriage? Such as you would hear about the pioneer migrations. I would be truly interested in the consumption of such reading.

I think you make Pahoran's original point very well.

Link to comment

Thank you this has been a very good thread! A lot of good points. In my country the "hidding" feels more beleavable since there are NO other translated material than the Church official material. It is a bit sad as this really triggers many. Luckily today most Finnish and norwegeans can english and the internett not only brings the internettsides but also the LDS books closer and today NO ONE can claim we "hide" something.

However this is a team with the critics and they attac pretty hard. A young woman joined and then left the church in just a few months as she heard of this "hidding" I told her she should wait a while, but she did not. Now she admits she was too fast in her movements and is again investigateing... this time slower. But she is realising the traps of the critics.

I wish there was a book, or something translated that does deal with this thing. I hope you do not mind if I use your great answers, translate them, and put them on my Finnish blogg and discusition board. :P

Link to comment

I think you make Pahoran's original point very well.

Antley... looking at that flie running as your avatar makes my whole body feel something creepy all over! :P

Link to comment
Now exactly what is the Church trying to "cover up" again?

Nothing at all. The true nature of the complaint was identified years ago...

Reshaping Church History

President Ezra Taft Benson cautioned: ?There have been and continue to be attempts made to bring [a humanistic] philosophy into our own Church history. ? The emphasis is to underplay revelation and God?s intervention in significant events and to inordinately humanize the prophets of God so that their human frailties become more apparent than their spiritual qualities? (?God?s Hand in Our Nation?s History,? in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1977], 310).

Speaking of these attempts, President Benson later said, ?We would warn you teachers of this trend, which seems to be an effort to reinterpret the history of the Church so that it is more rationally appealing to the world? (The Gospel Teacher and His Message [address to religious educators, 17 Sept. 1976], 11).

11: Keeping the Doctrine Pure,? Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching, 52

Link to comment

I wish there was a book, or something translated that does deal with this thing. I hope you do not mind if I use your great answers, translate them, and put them on my Finnish blogg and discusition board. :P

Hope you make use the resources of the European Mormon Studies Association:

http://groups.google...nstudies/topics

I met Kim Ostman when he came out to give a talk at FAIR, great guy--brilliant.

Link to comment

Now exactly what is the Church trying to "cover up" again?

Yeah, we're doing such a good job of this that we just announced over the conference broadcast that the new Church history library has been opened where ANYONE can come and see/read/study/search through all the materials we have there. The mind boggles at this accusation.

Link to comment

I don't understand why it is so unbelievable that there are good faithful longstanding members of the Church who are shocked, surprised, and maybe even a little angry, to hear about certain incidents of the past. My parents (aged 68) are BIC Utah Mormons with pioneer heritage who up until 4 years ago didn't know that Joseph Smith had more than a couple of wives; did not know anything about the Mountain Meadows Massacre; still don't know anything about the Expositor, etc. The people they associate with in church don't generally know anything about any of it either and won't even entertain the subjects, as they consider "that kind of talk" on the verge of apostasy. These are not uneducated people. Pres. Monson spoke at the funeral of my Dads cousin, "Bow-tie Ben." My parents have also served 3 Senior's missions. So although the Church's history is an open book (more so since the Internet), you can't deny that many Mormons don't know very much about it outside of what they are taught in church. (Who has the time to actually read all the volumes of "History of the Church" that sit prominently on the shelf, amongst the "Journal of Discourses" and other LDS publications? And why delve into them when we have current manuals and teachings? ) What I don't understand is the belligerent attitude, of some people who post on this board, toward people who question whether or not they have been told the truth, as opposed to only the faith promoting part of the truth. Why is this not a valid question? (And yes I understand that each individual has the responsibility for himself in learning these things, but is it a resonable expectation? Do I need to know all the intricacies of Bank of America to open a checking account? Am I not somewhat justified in my surprise or anger when they take my money because the disclosure of such was available if I had sought it out and read it, no matter how obscure?)

Link to comment

Pahoran,

How dare you mention those things. Now those kids will know for sure that the church is false. Argh!!

Lol. I think it funny that people say they leave the church over historical issues as if any of those make the church true or false. IOW the church's truth claims don't reside in weathet JS had a gun in carthage or weather or not he destoryed the priniting press. The church is still true even if those things happened.

Tell me about it!

I mean after reading the Bible... I'd be leery of any Religious leader who hand't spent a least a couple days behind bars.

I mean with such Moral Giants as:

1) Peter the self confessed Liar and Fugitive.

2) Paul the biggest sinner of all time, and self confessed accessory to Murder.

Thank God for the Book of Mormon to raise the bar a little when it comes to Morality of Leadership!

Link to comment

Yeah, we're doing such a good job of this that we just announced over the conference broadcast that the new Church history library has been opened where ANYONE can come and see/read/study/search through all the materials we have there. The mind boggles at this accusation.

I was very disappointed that the architects didn't incorporate any inverted petangrams and swasticas into the design. :P

Link to comment

From time to time we are treated to another chorus of the venerable old mantra: the Church "covers up" its history, "hides" all the "embarrassing" bits, and only provides a "whitewashed" version. When it is pointed out that all of the supposedly "embarrassing" bits are available to everyone who troubles themselves to pick up some books and actually read anything, the scope of the cover-up shrinks a bit: it's not that the Church actually "suppresses" those things (thus admitting that the Tanners lied about that) but that it doesn't affirmatively teach them to Primary children.

High on the list of "embarrassing" facts that the Church supposedly "covers up" -- basing this on the jet-engine-toned claims put forward by the accusers -- are three things: plural marriage, the "Expositor" incident, and the fact that Joseph Smith had a gun with him in Carthage Jail, and used it.

Well, yesterday being Sunday (we have to wait another week for Conference) I taught my Primary class the lesson on the martyrdom.

And guess what?

It mentioned the "Expositor" incident. It mentioned the fact that Joseph Smith had a gun with him in Carthage Jail, and used it.

Not only that, but plural marriage was mentioned in passing in a recent lesson.

Now exactly what is the Church trying to "cover up" again?

Regards,

Pahoran

When you mentioned plural marriage, did you also claim that there weren?t enough women and that?s why Joseph Smith introduced polygamy? Did you also tell them that Joseph Smith had many wives, some as young as 14 and 15, and he would give them 24 hours to decide whether or not to marry him? Or that he would promise the girl's parents eternal salvation for "giving" him their daughter? Did you print out and show them the letter written by Joseph Smith to Sarah Ann Whitney and her parents (this was written to her parents and is very obvious in its intent if you look at it critically), claiming it was only safe for them (yes it was addressed to all three of them which is a moot point) to come, but only if Emma wasn?t there, and he mentions twice in the letter he is lonely? (no mobs or bad guys, but just if Emma wasn?t there as the only non-safe condition). Did you mention polyandry and that Joseph Smith married women that he?d sent their husbands off on far away missions? Did you mention that Joseph Smith accused Emma of trying to poison him after he introduced polygamy?

Regarding the Carthage jail, did you mention Joseph Smith wasn?t wearing his sacred undergarments when he was shot? Did you also mention that he and his brother and the others there were drinking wine in the jail? Did you mention exactly what Joseph Smith said as the mob stormed in which included the Masonic Grand Hailing Sign of Distress is "Oh Lord, My God, is there no help for the widow's son?"

In response to this post, I find the versions told do not encompass the entire truth, but only parts of it. If you want to believe Joseph Smith didn?t marry 14 and 15 year old girls, then you can probably find a way to rationalize it as symbolic, but if you read the actual letter he wrote to Sarah Ann Whitney there is no doubt Emma was being deceived. Would you agree? (Note ? I can find actual pictures of this letter if you want, but I?m not sure about the rules regarding what?s off limits).

regards,

thews

(PS - I come from a polygamous heritage in the 1800's)

Link to comment

When you mentioned plural marriage, did you also claim that there weren?t enough women and that?s why Joseph Smith introduced polygamy?

That is a false statement. Try again.

JS introduced polygamy because God comanned him to do it. I cannot find one reference in scripture that it was because there were more women than men.

Regarding the Carthage jail, did you mention Joseph Smith wasn?t wearing his sacred undergarments when he was shot? Did you also mention that he and his brother and the others there were drinking wine in the jail? Did you mention exactly what Joseph Smith said as the mob stormed in which included the Masonic Grand Hailing Sign of Distress is "Oh Lord, My God, is there no help for the widow's son?"

Dont be so .... in your response here.

Oh no they were drinking wine? How could this be? Does any one here have a vaild explination for how JS could drink... gasp... wine in jail???

Link to comment

When you mentioned plural marriage, did you also claim that there weren?t enough women and that?s why Joseph Smith introduced polygamy? Did you also tell them that Joseph Smith had many wives, some as young as 14 and 15, and he would give them 24 hours to decide whether or not to marry him? Or that he would promise the girl's parents eternal salvation for "giving" him their daughter? Did you print out and show them the letter written by Joseph Smith to Sarah Ann Whitney and her parents (this was written to her parents and is very obvious in its intent if you look at it critically), claiming it was only safe for them (yes it was addressed to all three of them which is a moot point) to come, but only if Emma wasn?t there, and he mentions twice in the letter he is lonely? (no mobs or bad guys, but just if Emma wasn?t there as the only non-safe condition). Did you mention polyandry and that Joseph Smith married women that he?d sent their husbands off on far away missions? Did you mention that Joseph Smith accused Emma of trying to poison him after he introduced polygamy?

I never mention that But I did mention that God promised a 12 year old Mary eternal Life in the Masion if She would carry his son.

Link to comment

I was very disappointed that the architects didn't incorporate any inverted petangrams and swasticas into the design. ;)

You have to peel back the wainscoating to see those. :P

Link to comment

Then swat it! ;)

Hmmm good idea :crazy:

Hope you make use the resources of the European Mormon Studies Association:

http://groups.google...nstudies/topics

I met Kim Ostman when he came out to give a talk at FAIR, great guy--brilliant.

Yeah I know Kim. He wrote a very good book as an answer to an antibook. I hope someone would write more LDS books in Finnish explaining, what we really believe in, who we really are ... or I have to do it... :P

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...