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Setting aside the rhetoric that some would consider inflammatory, does this article make any good points?


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3 minutes ago, rongo said:

In my experience, there are no simple searches on lds.org. It's like the worst search engine, ever. You get hundreds of hits, none of which (at least, not those in reasonable proximity to the top) relate to your search (what you're actually looking for). But, I'm notoriously bad at key word searches. 

I am confident, though, that a concerned person looking for solid and relevant information on lds.org by doing key word searches, isn't going to find much that's helpful and relevant. 

The search on LDS.org is pretty lame.  In my experience though, if you put the search term in quotes, then that helps a lot.  For example, if you search "first vision accounts" this is the first article that comes up-

First Vision Accounts

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28 minutes ago, rongo said:

In my experience, there are no simple searches on lds.org. It's like the worst search engine, ever. You get hundreds of hits, none of which (at least, not those in reasonable proximity to the top) relate to your search (what you're actually looking for). But, I'm notoriously bad at key word searches. 

I am confident, though, that a concerned person looking for solid and relevant information on lds.org by doing key word searches, isn't going to find much that's helpful and relevant. 

Well I'll agree that the search engine sucks. It was much better before - and even let you sort by date. As I recall they changed it about two years ago. I'd disagree that you can't find what you're looking for. If you type in First Vision Accounts you get tones of links on that. I really don't think typing in any major term is problematic in the context we're talking of. Type in polyandry and you get the three stories that mention it. Type in Mountain Meadows Massacre and you get a bunch on that. Typically the topic essay is the first hit for any query.

What controversial topics are you finding hard to find a relevant article on? I'm pretty skeptical this is a problem.

Now if you're doing more particular searching for a talk or lesson then I'll completely grant you the search is useless especially compared to what they had before. But that's not really what we're talking about. 

 

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11 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Well I'll agree that the search engine sucks. It was much better before . . . What controversial topics are you finding hard to find a relevant article on? I'm pretty skeptical this is a problem.

Now if you're doing more particular searching for a talk or lesson then I'll completely grant you the search is useless especially compared to what they had before. But that's not really what we're talking about. 

I've actually never searched lds.org for controversial topics. I already know about them, and the source material. :) 

My issues with lds.org are when I've looked for a particular phrase or talk. It's a shockingly awful search feature. Family Search is bad, too (or it used to be --- haven't tried recently). My wife typed in "Union Marshal" (an ancestor with a really cool name) and his birth date to do his work, and it came up with zillions of hits --- none of which had "union" or "marshall" or the birth date. I marveled at how useless and awful that was. How, then, did the system decide that those zillions of hits were relevant?

You would think with the Church's tech focus, the search features would be really good. 

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

In my experience, there are no simple searches on lds.org. It's like the worst search engine, ever. You get hundreds of hits, none of which (at least, not those in reasonable proximity to the top) relate to your search (what you're actually looking for). But, I'm notoriously bad at key word searches. 

I am confident, though, that a concerned person looking for solid and relevant information on lds.org by doing key word searches, isn't going to find much that's helpful and relevant. 

I disagree.  There are oodles of "solid and relevant information on lds.org."  It's search function could probably use some improvement, though.

I think it is becoming a little silly for people to complain about the lack of information regarding the history of the Church.  Again, Bushman's remarks on this point are worth noting:

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I have been using the phrase “reconstruct the narrative” in recent talks because that is exactly what the Church is doing right now.  The Joseph Smith Papers offer a reconstructed narrative, so do some of the “Gospel Topics” essays.  The short First Vision film in the Church Museum of History mentions six accounts of Joseph’s experience and draws on all of them.  That is all reconstructing the narrative.  I got the phrase from a young woman who reported that she and her husband had both been through faith crises.  She had come back; he had remained alienated.  But both of them had to reconstruct the narrative.  We have to include, for example, the fact that that the first words to Joseph in the First Vision were:  “Your sins are forgiven.”  That makes us look again at his life and realize how important a part forgiveness played.  Similarly, we now have assimilated seer stones into the translation story.  A picture of a seer stone now appears in the Church History Museum display.  That would not have happened even five years ago.  The list goes on and on.

I consider Rough Stone Rolling a reconstructed narrative.  It was shocking to some people.  They could not bear to have the old story disrupted in any way.  What I was getting at in the quoted passage is that we must be willing to modify the account according to newly authenticated facts.  If we don’t we will weaken our position.  Unfortunately, not everyone can adjust to this new material.  Many think they were deceived and the church was lying.  That is not a fair judgment in my opinion.  The whole church, from top to bottom, has had to adjust to the findings of our historians.  We are all having to reconstruct.   In my opinion, nothing in the new material overturns the basic thrust of the story.  I still believe in gold plates.  I don’t think Joseph Smith could have dictated the Book of Mormon text without inspiration.  I think he was sincere in saying he saw God.  The glimpse Joseph Smith gives us of divine interest in humankind is still a source of hope in an unbelieving world.

If anyone has questions about what I believe, I would be happy to hear from him or her.  I believe pretty much the same things I did sixty years ago when I was a missionary.

I think Bro. Bushman is suggesting that the narratives about things like the First Vision or the gold plates need to be told in a more complex and more nuanced way.  Take, for example, the book "Truth Restored" written by Gordon B Hinckley long before he became the president of the church, but which is now used rather frequently in the church.  It is a fairly well written overview of the history of the church.  But it was originally written in 1947, and it is only about 150 pages long.  It discusses the gospel in broad strokes and basic terms.  70 years later, however, we have extraordinary amounts of information about the same materials discussed in this book.  I think what Brother Bushman is saying is that the little old grandmothers in Sanpete County have long been accustomed to the briefer and simpler narrative in books like this. And in Gospel Doctrine lessons like this.  And so on.  However, the grandsons of these grandmothers are probably not going to be satisfied with this simpler and briefer narrative approach.  

I think the Church is recognizing this. The Joseph Smith papers project to me strongly suggest that the church is trying, and in many ways succeeding, to keep Pace with the need to prevent a more detailed and complex narrative about the restored gospel, about church history, and about troubling and difficult parts of these things. The Joseph Smith Papers project. The Gospel Topics essays.  And there are also many additional "faithful" resources for us to use, such as Royal Skousen's critical text of the Book of Mormon.  Brant Gardner's "Second Witness" series (just bought the first novel - love it!).  The Maxwell Institute and other BYU publications.  FAIR.  Mormon Interpreter.  Jeff Lindsay.    Hundreds of other books about the Church's history and doctrine.  Most of these are available online and/or in public libraries, and are also available for purchase.

To me, these are all wonderful developments, and I think indicate that the narrative is, in fact, changing to accommodate added information, scholarship, and broader perspectives about the Gospel "story" then were previously available to and openly discussed the Saints.

So for me, the Op-Ed in the OP is not well-founded.  It comes across as malicious and accusatory.  It assumes the absolute worst about the LDS Church and its leaders.  It utterly ignores the vast wealth of information that we have about the Church, and instead faults the Church for not squeezing all of it into the three-hour block.  It is based on a premise that is substantively flawed (and, I think, rebutted by Bushman).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I think this misrepresents greatly what they said. Ballard said, "We’re as transparent as we know how to be in telling the truth. We have to do that; that’s the Lord’s way." At no time did Oaks and Ballard claim they were transparent in the sense of releasing every bit of data or making every text publicly available. People are attacking them for something they never claimed. Rather they were saying that they told the truth. And no one is disputing that. The only place one could possibly criticize on that point is McConkie on Brigham Young and Adam/God. Even that is a bit more complex than it first appears.

 

 

 

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It’s this idea that the church is hiding something, which we would have to say as two Apostles who have covered the world and know the history of the church and know the integrity of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve from the beginning of time, there has been no attempt on the part in anyway, that the church leaders trying to hide anything from anybody

Here's what I said:

Quote

I don't know that it should.  But it argues against the notion that the Church has always been open and transparent.  

I don't think you are addressing the quote in question.  I don't know if you are trying to play a game with what we're talking about or if you simply didn't pay attention to what was said.    He does suggest that "there has been no attempt on the part in any way" after saying "from the beginning of time".  I think the best you have here is that he misspoke, or over-played his cards.  But in truth I didn't misrepresent what was said.  I'm not really into the game commonly played here but when you said, 

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At no time did Oaks and Ballard claim they were transparent in the sense of releasing every bit of data or making every text publicly available. 

THat's ridiculous, clark.  I didn't suggest that.  

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Multiple versions of the FV is a problem to me. Seeing Jesus and God in one, seeing an angel/angels in another and only Jesus in another. Asking for forgiveness in one. Asking which church to join in another. The only thing that would help is if these were different events on different days. Also, the several people that had the same visions right around that time makes me skeptical. And the fact that these are "visions" maybe not actual occurrences and all in his mind's eye. Growing up this never occurred to me. 

Thank you Tacenda.

John A. Tvedtnes wrote an excellent article for Mormon Interpreter which compares the multiple versions of Joseph Smith's First Vision with that of Paul's "first vision". In both cases Tvedtnes points out that both Smith and Paul give multiple accounts of their experiences, each account gives various details about the account, none are the exact same as the other, but both Paul's accounts of his experience and Smith's accounts of his experience, when combined, harmoniously tell one overall story. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Variants in the Stories of the First Vision of Joseph Smith and the Apostle Paul

 

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19 hours ago, cinepro said:

If we were in the spirit world having this conversation and the spirit of Cecil T. Copperpot complained that he lived his whole life in the Church and died in 1947 and he had never heard of the different accounts of the First Vision, then I think that would be a valid complaint. 

But at some point, we're complaining that the Church "hid" that info from someone else.  It should also be clarified that the Church has never pretended that it wasn't "hiding" stuff; indeed Elder Packer and his ilk never seemed embarrassed by their beliefs that the Church should hide the embarrassing stuff that wasn't faith promoting.  So if hiding stuff proves that the Church isn't "true", then that's something we should have known all along (or at least for the last half-century or so).

So here we are in 2017 having this conversation.  The gospel topics essays were published years ago.  The internet has been in full swing for about 20 years.  So what would you say if, in 2040, a 20-year old LDS complains to you that they didn't know about the different versions of the First Vision because the Church was "hiding" it? 

 

And as an additional historical tidbit, it could be argued that the Church was hiding all the versions of the First Vision until 1905!

 

 

No one's really complaining.  We're addressing what was said by the apostles.  They are the ones saying that from the beginning of time no leaders have withheld info.  If it's untrue it's untrue.  I'm not sure why this is such a big deal, enough to defend.  It happened.  They clearly misspoke or misrepresented for their own reasons. 

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16 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Not sure I understand the point you are making here.  Could you clarify?

Sorry for the confusion.  I didn't say that well.  I'm suggesting that no one really expects any past hiding of info, if you call it that, to be rectified magically.  It happened.  Shrug.  Why argue about it?  

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21 minutes ago, smac97 said:

From Wikipedia:

About the film (which is, I think, how the term came to be popular):

So I don't see how "gaslighting" could be an inadvertent or passive thing.  It clearly requires malicious intent.

I think there is more information publicly and readily available about the Church now, in 2017, than has ever existed since the Church was founded in 1830.  There is far more material than any one person can feasibly consume, and also far more than can be feasibly presented during the three-hour block and in seminary/institute.  And in any event, the Church has long encouraged the Saints to study the doctrines and history of the Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

Could it be, then, that FealressFixxer is trying to gaslight believing Mormons through the Salt lake Tribune and secret temple recordings? 

Hmmmmmm...........

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

You would think with the Church's tech focus, the search features would be really good. 

My guess is that they wanted it to be simpler. I just wish that on the search results page they had an "advanced search" button that let you change sorting, display, and so forth.

I should note that one of my businesses is search engines and so I'm particularly critical of this.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

They are the ones saying that from the beginning of time no leaders have withheld info.

Again, not what they said. I'm all in on them not speaking well on that point. But people are attributing to them things they didn't say in the least.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:
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At no time did Oaks and Ballard claim they were transparent in the sense of releasing every bit of data or making every text publicly available. 

THat's ridiculous, clark.  I didn't suggest that.  

Sure you did. Mark said "Why should "The Church" be presumed have the responsibility to disclose such information?" to which you responded "I don't know that it should.  But it argues against the notion that the Church has always been open and transparent. "

In other words you're fine with them not being open and transparent in the sense of releasing all information but think their not disclosing entails they're not open and transparent.

If open and transparent isn't about releasing all information what does it mean? I've been arguing that Oaks and Ballard clearly mean it in the sense of being honest in what one says. I've even been forthright that one can criticize even that position such as with McConkie. Instead we're told that not releasing documents entails not being open and transparent even if they're being honest.

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I don't think you are addressing the quote in question.  I don't know if you are trying to play a game with what we're talking about or if you simply didn't pay attention to what was said.    He does suggest that "there has been no attempt on the part in any way" after saying "from the beginning of time".  I think the best you have here is that he misspoke, or over-played his cards.  But in truth I didn't misrepresent what was said. 

It's useful to look at a transcript. (I'm here assuming it's accurate) And yet to me it seems like you and a few others aren't addressing the quote as presented - typically by divorcing it from the full context. The question is what "anything" modifies or if it is intended to be universal. You and others are taking it as an universal claim. Yet Ballard, after talking about the Joseph Smith papers after that "no attempt" sentence, says, "We’re as transparent as we know how to be in telling the truth. We have to do that. That’s the Lord’s way." He clearly is talking about telling the truth, not every piece of data. 

Now do I think he misspoke somewhat? Sure. I don't think it was a good response. There's lots to criticize in it. He's human trying his best to say things correctly. I'm sure that were this not a somewhat spontaneous interview but instead a carefully crafted, written and rewritten text it would have read much differently.

It's just that you and others are saying he's talking about withholding info. He's clearly not saying that. Could he have phrased it better so it's impossible to twist him to saying that no document of bit of information was withheld in the entire history of the church? Certainly. But even a modicum of charity of interpretation would recognize it'd be ludicrous to claim nothing was withheld for no period. There weren't pictures of the seer stones. The 1832 account was in the vault for a few decades. There's still diaries and records not publicly released. Clearly they know that. But instead of trying to figure out what he was trying to say people are leaping to the most uncharitable reading possible: that he's intentionally lying about misleading people.

Edited by clarkgoble
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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

No one's really complaining.  We're addressing what was said by the apostles.  They are the ones saying that from the beginning of time no leaders have withheld info.  If it's untrue it's untrue.  I'm not sure why this is such a big deal, enough to defend.  It happened.  They clearly misspoke or misrepresented for their own reasons. 

Why not just admit what happened and move on? Defending it does become obsurd at some point.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

"We’re as transparent as we know how to be in telling the truth. We have to do that. That’s the Lord's way."

Do you think it's just a question of Ballard not knowing how to be transparent enough in telling the truth? Maybe he needs a lesson on transparency? ;) :D

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2 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I mention this by way of pointing out that it takes considerable resources and energy to produce accurate and thorough history. So much of what is falsely imputed as wrongdoing or secrecy may in actuality be more attributable to scarcity of resources.

The reason the Church didn't give thorough documentary treatment to Church records until Larry H. Miller was because of "scarcity of resources?" That is a ridiculous claim on its face. The Church has resources, and has had very good resources for a very long time. I'm not a critic of City Creek, but things like that show that the Church was not waiting for philanthropic donations to begin getting serious about history. That wasn't the reason it took so long.

If there is one thing the Church doesn't lack, it's "considerable resources."

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Sorry for the confusion.  I didn't say that well.  I'm suggesting that no one really expects any past hiding of info, if you call it that, to be rectified magically.  It happened.  Shrug.  Why argue about it?  

Aside from some few exotic materials secreted in Joseph Fielding Smith's personal safe (he was the official Church Historian), the LDS Archives had not even been catalogued.  Even Joseph Fielding Smith had no knowledge of the significance of most of it.  Hugh Nibley told a story of looking at the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon with Joseph Fielding Smith. Elder Smith commented that you couldn't even read it, and with a flourish began to just sweep up the fragmentary pages with his hands.  Hugh stopped him cold, saying that all of it could be read through special photographic techniques and filters -- as has now been done successfully by Royal Skousen.

People who know nothing about professional historiography can hardly be accused of anything more than extreme naivete, and thus unreasoning fear.  However, I still find it astonishing that any member did not know of polygamy (every non-member I ever met knew about that), or the like. Accusations of "hiding" something requires at least some knowledge of the thing being hidden, and that has been lacking in far too many cases.  Once Leonard Arrington came in as Church Historian and had the Archives catologued, so-called "hiding" was not possible.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

My guess is that they wanted it to be simpler. I just wish that on the search results page they had an "advanced search" button that let you change sorting, display, and so forth.

I should note that one of my businesses is search engines and so I'm particularly critical of this.

Again, not what they said. I'm all in on them not speaking well on that point. But people are attributing to them things they didn't say in the least.

Sure they did.  As I quoted.  "It’s this idea that the Church is hiding something, which we would have to say as two apostles that have covered the world and know the history of the Church and know the integrity of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve from the beginning of time--there has been no attempt on the part, in any way, of the Church leaders trying to hide anything from anybody."

From the beginning of time, there has been no attempt, in any way. of the church leaders trying to hide anything from anybody.  It was odd they referenced the 1832 first vision account, because we all know that a church leader did try to hide it from not just anybody but everybody.  We're all glad it's out in the open now, at least for history's sake.  I realize you want to dismiss this as misspeaking.  I'm fine with that.  But I don't know why you keep saying they aren't saying exactly what was said.  

 

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Sure you did. Mark said "Why should "The Church" be presumed have the responsibility to disclose such information?" to which you responded "I don't know that it should.  But it argues against the notion that the Church has always been open and transparent. "

In other words you're fine with them not being open and transparent in the sense of releasing all information but think their not disclosing entails they're not open and transparent.

The point remains--the claim that no Church leaders have withheld information from anybody is false.  I think you agree, but are some reason arguing against Elder Ballard's words.

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

If open and transparent isn't about releasing all information what does it mean? I've been arguing that Oaks and Ballard clearly mean it in the sense of being honest in what one says. I've even been forthright that one can criticize even that position such as with McConkie. Instead we're told that not releasing documents entails not being open and transparent even if they're being honest.

They were making shockingly wrong statements.  We all know it.  I'm not sure why people are trying to pretend they didn't say what they did say.  It's pretty weird to argue they didn't say that from the beginning of time Church leaders have not, in anyway, tried to hide anything from anybody.  That's what they said.  And when we say that's what they say and quote it, you say I'm misrepresenting what they said. 

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

It's useful to look at a transcript. (I'm here assuming it's accurate) And yet to me it seems like you and a few others aren't addressing the quote as presented - typically by divorcing it from the full context. The question is what "anything" modifies or if it is intended to be universal. You and others are taking it as an universal claim.

That misses my point.  

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Yet Ballard, after talking about the Joseph Smith papers after that "no attempt" sentence, says, "We’re as transparent as we know how to be in telling the truth. We have to do that. That’s the Lord’s way." He clearly is talking about telling the truth, not every piece of data.

That's an interesting attempts at spin, for sure.  He says they aren't hiding anything currently, which is closer to true, I'm sure, but then said from the beginning of time no Church leader in anyway, has tried to hide anything from anyone.  Sure, he references the JSP, but that doesn't really satisfy him supporting his claim.  

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

 

Now do I think he misspoke somewhat? Sure. I don't think it was a good response. There's lots to criticize in it. He's human trying his best to say things correctly. I'm sure that were this not a somewhat spontaneous interview but instead a carefully crafted, written and rewritten text it would have read much differently.

I question the notion that this is spontaneous. It seems that Ballard when saying what he did, read it off his notes, as someone else noted.  

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

It's just that you and others are saying he's talking about withholding info. He's clearly not saying that.

He referenced the First vision, clark.  We already know that the 1832 account was withheld.  Yet he says, "It’s this idea that the Church is hiding something, which we would have to say as two apostles that have covered the world and know the history of the Church and know the integrity of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve from the beginning of time--there has been no attempt on the part, in any way, of the Church leaders trying to hide anything from anybody."

It's like you're not willing to hear what he says.  

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Could he have phrased it better so it's impossible to twist him to saying that no document of bit of information was withheld in the entire history of the church? Certainly. But even a modicum of charity of interpretation would recognize it'd be ludicrous to claim nothing was withheld for no period. There weren't pictures of the seer stones. The 1832 account was in the vault for a few decades. There's still diaries and records not publicly released. Clearly they know that. But instead of trying to figure out what he was trying to say people are leaping to the most uncharitable reading possible: that he's intentionally lying about misleading people.

I'm charitable in that I say they both were really either unprepared and didn't know what they were saying, really, or they were prepared at least to some extent and really did a poor job in conveying the message.  But it's silly to say they didn't say what they did.  I'm surprised to see you continuing this game.  It doesn't sound like you.  

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1 minute ago, rongo said:

The reason the Church didn't give thorough documentary treatment to Church records until Larry H. Miller was because of "scarcity of resources?" That is a ridiculous claim on its face. The Church has resources, and has had very good resources for a very long time. I'm not a critic of City Creek, but things like that show that the Church was not waiting for philanthropic donations to begin getting serious about history. That wasn't the reason it took so long.

If there is one thing the Church doesn't lack, it's "considerable resources."

There is a necessity for more than monetary "resources."  For a long time, there simply was no cadre of professional historians in the LDS Church.  Once there was such a cadre, along with the Mormon History Association and Dialogue, it was possible to begin staffing the LDS Archives with them and to begin cataloguing the Archives.  There is no reason to believe that the Brethren fully understood the need for such action back in the 40s and 50s.  B.H. Roberts was dead, and professionals like Arrington, Bushman, and Nibley were only starting out.

As to Larry H. Miller's largesse, bless him, but don't make the mistake of incorrectly imagining that he paid to have the Archives catalogued.  That had already been done at LDS Church expense decades before Miller even thought about the subject.  Miller believed that he had been prompted by the Holy Spirit to fund full publication of the Joseph Smith Papers -- materials already available to any historian.  What the JSP Project does is to fund full publication of them in book form and online, with all the helps needed by the hoi polloi.  The Church has gone all out in such endeavors, including the new Church History Museum.  Take a tour and ask questions.

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

The reason the Church didn't give thorough documentary treatment to Church records until Larry H. Miller was because of "scarcity of resources?" That is a ridiculous claim on its face. The Church has resources, and has had very good resources for a very long time. I'm not a critic of City Creek, but things like that show that the Church was not waiting for philanthropic donations to begin getting serious about history. That wasn't the reason it took so long.

If there is one thing the Church doesn't lack, it's "considerable resources."

 

2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There is a necessity for more than monetary "resources."  For a long time, there simply was no cadre of professional historians in the LDS Church.  Once there was such a cadre, along with the Mormon History Association and Dialogue, it was possible to begin staffing the LDS Archives with them and to begin cataloguing the Archives.  There is no reason to believe that the Brethren fully understood the need for such action back in the 40s and 50s.  B.H. Roberts was dead, and professionals like Arrington, Bushman, and Nibley were only starting out.

As to Larry H. Miller's largesse, bless him, but don't make the mistake of incorrectly imagining that he paid to have the Archives catalogued.  That had already been done at LDS Church expense decades before Miller even thought about the subject.  Miller believed that he had been prompted by the Holy Spirit to fund full publication of the Joseph Smith Papers -- materials already available to any historian.  What the JSP Project does is to fund full publication of them in book form and online, with all the helps needed by the hoi polloi.  The Church has gone all out in such endeavors, including the new Church History Museum.  Take a tour and ask questions.

From a 2005 newspaper report about Larry Miller's role in the Joseph Smith Papers project (emphasis mine):

Quote

 

Esplin [Ron Esplin, the project's general editor] said the Joseph Smith Papers Project will change the landscape of scholarship on Smith, allowing historians to access original documents by going to the set of volumes or to a Web site.

The project earned a major stamp of scholarly approval last year when it was endorsed by a division of the National Archives, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Miller stepped in to help in 2001, when the project was expected to be nine volumes.

"I was surprised how modest the amount of money was they asked for," Miller said of early meetings with project organizers. "I told them, first, you did not ask for enough money, and second, you need to do more."

Esplin praised Miller during his lecture but said afterward that Miller is humble about his involvement. The acknowledgements at the front of the first volumes have just one line thanking Miller and his wife Gail for their contributions, the amount of which are undisclosed.

The Family and Church History Department of the church and BYU's Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History haver provided space, resources and manpower, but funding comes from the Millers. That money has purchased technology and additional manpower.

"This simply could not be done without the resources the Millers have provided," Esplin said. "With their help we can do more, do it quicker and do it better. We could not do it on this scale or with this richness without their help."

Miller's chief role, he said, is to accelerate the project. In addition to funding, he has contributed the same hard-nosed, bottom-line business sense that made it possible for him to build a car-sales empire, preserve the Jazz franchise and finance the Delta Center.

Beyond the above, I will just point out that when an entity such as the Church of Jesus Christ has as its goal to save mankind, there will always be a scarcity of resources.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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5 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

 

From a 2005 newspaper report about Larry Miller's role in the Joseph Smith Papers project (emphasis mine):

Beyond the above, I will just point out that when an entity such as the Church of Jesus Christ has as its goal to save mankind, there will always be a scarcity of resources.

Too bad we don't know what those resources are, actually, that the church has.  Financial disclosure sure would help resolve this question of whether or not the church had resources sufficient to properly disclose what is in the Joseph Smith papers without Larry H. Miller.

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    • By Fair Dinkum
      While I'll assume no one in this board is unfamiliar with this subject, I'll still offer a short synopsis just in case. Back Story:  In 1985 the family of B.H. Roberts allowed a collection of his personal papers, still in the private hands of family members, to be published into book form.  The collection was published as "Studies of The Book of Mormon"
      In his papers were discovered notes of a special meeting that was held in early 1922 involving all member's of the First Presidency, The Quorum of the Twelve as well as the 7 Presidents of the Seventy, of which Robert's was a member.  Robert's had been given the assignment by Heber J. Grant to answer questions that had been sent in a letter to the church from a member seeking answers. 
      The questions were quite straight forward:
      when the Jews landed in the New World (600 B.C.) is not enough time to explain the diversity of native Indian languages. Horses were introduced to the Americas by the Spaniards, thus their appearance in the Book of Mormon is an anachronisms. The use of steel in the Book of Mormon is an anachronism. The use of scimitars (an arabian sword) in an anachronism. The use of silk was unknown to the Americas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_of_the_Book_of_Mormon
      Roberts concerns went unanswered by church authorities which caused him to try and resolve the difficulties himself.  The book represents his attempt to resolve those questions, he was unsuccessful in doing so. 
      Now a new master thesis has been written exploring secret meetings that took place following Robert's failed attempt to find satisfaction from his fellow church authorities.  Robert's formed this band of LDS intelligentsia in a further attempt to resolve his concerns and find answers to Book of Mormon problems.  While I've only just started to read it, this thesis is a fascinating behind the scenes look into the pre-correlation church.
      https://scholarworks.unr.edu/handle/11714/6712
      Despite his failures to resolve his concerns, we owe much to Roberts attempt, for it was from many of these questions that much of today's apologetic theories of a limited footprint, duel Cumorah's and acknowledgement of a pre-populated Asian immigrant America, to name just a few, have emerged.  Since the emergence of the internet, modern day apologetics has completely re-framed how the Book of Mormon is viewed from how it was interpreted in 1922. The problem is that much of the church still views the book in much the same way as it was seen in 1922.
      Mormon historians have debated whether the manuscript/book reflects Roberts's doubts or was a case of his playing a devils advocate. One interesting fact remains, per his instructions, his headstone has a Christian Cross on it, which was even unusual for that time and even more so for a former General Authority of the Church.
       
    • By blueglass
      Here is the 2019 end of year seminary assessment my kids received yesterday. Would love to hear your thoughts on the questions, the probable answers, and the doctrine taught.  Don't forget the last 4 questions pertaining to the Explain Doctrine section.  
      https://ibb.co/Dfz4JNr
      Read instructions before you start the test:
      Exam code: 8
      If you have difficulty taking the learning assessment in the traditional way, please talk with your teacher to figure out the best way to help you succeed.
      Use a no. 2 or HB pencil. Indicate your response by completely filling in the bubble on your answer sheet.
      Section name: Multiple Choice
        1.  Who will receive a place in a kingdom of glory? (1 mark)
      a) Every individual born into mortality
      b) All of God's children except the sons of perdition
      c) Only individuals who are worthy of exaltation
        2. Which of the following is a specific responsibility mentioned in the oath and covenant of the priesthood? (1 mar)
      a) To magnify their callings
      b) To pay a generous fast offering
      c) To not be idle
        3. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, in the Resurrection all individuals will receive ____ (1 mark)
      a) at least a terrestrial glory
      b) celestial glory
      c) glory according to the law they obeyed
        4. Which of the following blessings does God offer to those who keep the Word of Wisdom? (1 mark)
      a) They will not be burned at the Second Coming.
      b) Their bodies will be protected from all illness.
      c) They will receive wisdom and great treasures of knowledge.
        5. To be endowed in the temple means to receive ____ (1 mark)
      a) a guarantee of eternal life
      b) spiritual power and knowledge
      c) unique physical gifts from the Lord
        6. What does the existence of the precious truths in the Pearl of Great Pric teach us about the Prophet Joseph Smith? (1 mark)
      a) He no longer needed the power of God to help him translate.
      b) He was a prophet, seer, and revelator.
      c) He is the only prophet of this dispensation that can receive new scripture.
        7. As watchmen on the tower, modern prophets have a responsibility to ____ (1 mark)
      a) warn us of coming dangers
      b) stop Satan from tempting members of the Church
      c) change truth to fit modern times
        8. What is a bishop's or branch president's main responsibility when a teenager confesses sin to him? (1 mark)
      a) To prevent the person from being part of the Church
      b) To help the person receive forgiveness of the sins and regain peace of mind
      c) To inflict severe consequences and punishments from sinning
        9. Who visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple to restore priesthood keys? (1 mark)
      a) Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Malachi
      b) Moses, Elias, and Elijah
      c) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
        10. According to the Doctrine and Covenants, what are tithing funds used for? (1 mark)
      a) They are the main fund the Church uses to support the poor and the needy.
      b) They are used to build temples and to accomplish the work of the Lord.
      c) They are used to pay ward and branch members for serving in the Church.
        11. While the Prophet Joseph Smith was falsely imprisoned in Liberty Jail, the Lord taught him that adversity and affliction
      (1 mark)
      a) will not occur if we trust in God
      b) are always a consequence of our poor choices
      c) can give us experience and be for our good
        12. Which of the following is a true statement about Relief Society? (1 mark)
      a) It was divinely organized to assist in the work of salvation.
      b) It was established during the trek west to help Saints who were suffering.
      c) It did not exist during the lifetime of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
        13. A man and a woman will receive eternal life and glory if _____ (1 mark)
      a) they love each other more than they love themselves
      b) they keep the new and everlasting covenant of marriage they made in the temple
      c) they are married in the temple
        14. Why do our ancestors who die without having a knowledge of the gospel need us to perform ordinances for them in the temple?
      a) Without these ordinances, our ancestors cannot progress toward eternal life. (1 mark)
      b) Without these ordinances, our ancestors cannot be saved in any kingdom of glory.
      c} Without these ordinances, our ancestors will not be resurrected.
        15. Marriage between one man and one woman is the Lord's standing law. Wen is the only time plural marriage is justified?
      a) Wen there are more women than men in the Church (1 mark)
      b) Whenever local laws and traditions allow members to practice it without breaking the law
      c) When the Lord authorizes it through the priesthood keys given to the President of the Church
        16. When the President of the Church dies, which quorum becomes the presiding quorum of the Church? (1 mark)
      a) The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
      b) The Quorum of the First Presidency
      c) The Presiding Bishopric
        17. Which of the following shows the correct chronological order (first to last) of places the Saints were told to gather to? (1 mark}
      a) A stake in their homeland; Nauvoo, Illinois; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Salt Lake City, Utah
      b) Nauvoo, Illinois; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Salt Lake City, Utah; a stake in their homeland
      c) Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Nauvoo, Illinois; Salt Lake City, Utah; a stake in their homeland
        18. After the Savior visited the spirit world, what did righteous spirits there begin to do?
      a} They were all resurrected and began entering the highest kingdom of glory.
      b) They began performing ordinances for those who had not received them.
      c) They began teaching the gospel to those in spirit prison.
      (1 mark)
        19. According to Official Declaration 2, the Lord revealed that all worthy male Church members may ___ _ (1 mark)
      a) receive the ordinance of baptism
      b) serve a mission at age 18
      c) receive the priesthood and enjoy temple blessings
        20. What principle is emphasized in Doctrine and Covenants 121:36, 41-2? (1 mark)
      a) Priesthood holders can draw upon the powers of heaven only if they live righteously.
      b) lf we actively seek to learn through study and faith, our faith in Jesus Christ will increase.
      c) If we obey the Lord, He will always keep His promises to bless us.
        21. Which of the following accurately describes Heavenly Father? (1 mark)
      a) He is without feelings or emotions.
      b) He is a personage of Spirit and can dwell in us.
      c) He has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's.
        22. Which of the following is a requirement for receiving exaltation in the celestial kingdom? (1 mark)
      a) Bearing testimony of the Savior is all that is needed.
      b) Receiving a patriarchal blessing
      c) Receiving and being valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ
        23. Of the following groups, who will inherit the celestial kingdom? (1 mark)
      a) All children who die before they reach the age of accountability
      b) All members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
      c) All individuals who have been baptized
        24. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "God doesn't care how marriage is defined"? (1 mark)
      a) Ever individual born into morality is a child of God, and God loves each of us.
      b) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      c) God changes truth to meet the circumstances and needs of His children.
        25. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "It isn't as important for couples to have children today as it used to
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured.
      b) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
      c) God's commandment fr husbands and wives to have children remains in force today.
        26. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "As long as two individuals love each other, physical intimacy is
      acceptable"? (1 mark)
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured.
      b) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      c) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
        27. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "As governments continue to redefine marriage, God's definition of
      marriage will change to reflect the values of modern society"? (1 mark)
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      b) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
      c) Changes in the civil law do not change the moral law that God has established.
        28. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "The only purpose of marriage is for adults to find fulfillment and
      happiness"? (1 mark)
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured.
      b) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      c) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
      Section name: Explain Doctrine _
      Instructions: Write your answer on a piece of paper. Compare your response with the correct answer received from your teacher. After self-grading the explain-doctrine question, bubble in your answer sheet.
      Self-grade your answer for each question:
      a. Yes, I explained this in my response.
      b. No, I left this out of my response.
        29. What is an example of a truth that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Explain why the truth you chose can help you receive eternal life. (1 mark)
        30. What is an example of an ordinance that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Explain why the ordinance you chose can help you receive eternal life. (1 mark)
        31. What is an example of priesthood authority that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Explain why this authority of the priesthood can help you receive eternal life. (1 mark)
        32. Share your personal thoughts on the importance of the Prophet Joseph Smith. (1 mark)
    • By blueglass
      Really impressed with Kate Holbrook's interview with Terryl Givens.  She's thoughtful, candid, and inspiring as she speaks about her persistence to get a PhD and work full time for the church as a manger of church history.  She's working on a project with Lisa Tate on the history of the young women's organization.  
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2G7k1ggz7k&feature=em-uploademail
      One thing I caught that I hadn't heard before was when Terryl asks her about whether she felt a sense of loss and a sense of jubilation when studying the history of the RS.  Joseph envisioned a more collaborative relationship with the male priesthood, more autonomy, abundance of spiritual gifts, authority to administer ordinances including healing by the laying of hands.  Kate responds that she understands the hyperfocus on this time period, but she feels there is a lost opportunity in recognizing the accomplishments of the women of the 20th century - she then backtracks a bit and says:
      "I don't want to say that their isn't a difference, between - a time when a woman was able to say I have this terrific idea she's say the General RS president and she goes and talks to the president of the church about it.  That is certainly different than now, when she goes and talks to someone in the presiding bishopric, and it has to go through several levels to even get to the president.  There is a loss, and there is a difference."
      I had no idea that the General RS president did not have direct access to the quorum of the 12, and first presidency?  Why in 3 heavens does the general RS president still have such an auxiliary level of access to the presiding apostolic quorum, access to financial influence through Pres Bishopric perhaps, but no real budget to work with?  No seat on the correlation committee?  
      Kate has a great story about how Ardeth Greene Kapp (General YW president 84-92') while receiving a downpour of revelation would use innovative, clever ways and technology to push the ideas upward through the hierarchy.  
    • By FearlessFixxer
      Greetings.

      I was told by a friend that I needed to check this site out and I am super impressed!  I love the commentary, both for and against, the various leaks we have have over the last year.
       
      This is by far the best forum currently discussing the leaks.
       
      Anyway, I thought I would offer myself up to you all and do an AMA (Ask Me Anything).
       
      No questions are off the table, but I reserve the right to say no comment 
       
      If you need proof that this is really me you can PM me at https://www.facebook.com/FearlessFixxer
       
      Cheers
       
      Moderator advice: Welcome to the board, feel free to join in but we do not allow personal ads. 
    • By rockpond
      For anyone out there who has been dying to know how much a temple employee makes <crickets>, some 2006 data is now available!
      MormonLeaks has also created a page where they are compiling all leaks that have to do with church salaries, it's here:
      https://mormonleaks.io/wiki/index.php?title=Mormon_Church_Salaries
      If you were looking to become employed with the church, it appears that (as of 2006) the top salaries there maxed out around $130k.  Likely a bit higher now.
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