Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, November 26

Mormon/ LDS History: Does the Mormon Church Cover-up, Lie, or Whitewash Its History?

Mormon/ LDS History: Does the Mormon Church Cover-up, Lie, or Whitewash Its History?
by grego

Of course not all history can make it into a small (or even large) volume that will be read by all. But are there lies and whitewashes, especially an unfair unbalance in the presentation? Well, there are summaries, and summaries don’t tell it all. (I know of much current history that is known by just a few, but that’s a little different, and that happens with everyone and everything.)

Yesterday, however, I was reminded that yes, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ Mormon/ LDS Church *DOES* whitewash history, in a certain way. But I would call it “blackwash”… Let me explain.

See, I was on reading the histories of the early Saints/ LDS members ( ) researching information for another article/ blog post. And though I was looking for a few select quotes, I started reading more and more, and spent much of the day doing so. (That was not the first time I had been on the site, reading the journals/ records.) I was glad for those records, and I strongly encourage you to go read them for yourself. In fact, I think I would rather have my children read just four of those than to take a semester of LDS Church history at a BYU school.

As I was reading, I wondered, “If it were true that the LDS/ Mormon Church were so concerned with hiding church historical details, why would church leaders encourage members–past and present–to keep diaries/ journals, especially of church matters? That didn’t really make sense to me; how about you? Nor did the preservation of all the records on that website, which seems to be a BYU (Brigham Young University) website. Note this quote from the website also: “If you have, or know of, a journal, autobiography, diary or letters of other contemporaries of Joseph Smith, Jr. and would like to see them in this collection, please email us.” Sound like a cover-up, lie, or whitewash?

But one thing is absolutely certain and clear about these records: the stories they tell of the violence, bigotry, unlawfulness, hate, and evil done to them by both apostates and other “Christians” and others is more gorily detailed, emotionally moving, and damning than any LDS Church history book I have ever read–especially those books put out by the LDS Church.

On the other hand, the Saints’ suffering and dedication and sacrifice, the miracles and visions and blessings the Lord provided for them as groups and especially as individuals, their insights and testimonies and humility–is far stronger, much more frequent, more emotionally moving, spiritual, down-to-earth, poignant, truthful, and wonderful than any LDS Church history book I have ever read–especially those books put out by the LDS Church.

Which led to my conclusion: yes, the LDS Church does cover-up and whitewash its own history–against its own favor.

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  1. How honest and open is the LDS Church about its pre-1978 racism?

    Judging by the lack of information possessed by Mormons who are not old enough to personally remember those days, the answer is: not at all.

    Comment by Jesurgislac — 2008, November 26 @ 5:31 pm

  2. So Jesurgislac, nice to hear your comments about the website. Whoops, I didn’t mention anything about that… and I’ll bet you didn’t go see what I was talking about, huh? No problem, eh? The LDS Church was open about its “racism”, and always has been. What parts are you talking about that have been hidden? And how did *you* find them–when Mormons can’t, because the LDS Church is so dishonest and closed? Thanks! grego

    Comment by grego — 2008, November 27 @ 12:59 am

  3. The LDS Church was open about its “racism”, and always has been.

    Then why are so many Mormons under the age of 35 or so apparently completely unaware that they belonged to a church which used to hold, as an article of faith, that black people were descended from Cain, cursed of God, and the best a black Mormon could hope for was to enter the Celestial Kingdom as a servant?

    And how did *you* find them–when Mormons can’t

    I didn’t say Mormons can’t. Racist passages from Mormon Doctrine, and many public speeches made by leaders of the LDS Church about the inferiority of “the Negroes” are freely available on the Internet.

    I said that it appears that the LDS Church is not at all open about its racist doctrines pre-1978, because when I have cited passages from Mormon Doctrine to Mormons not old enough to remember their church in pre-1978 days, they assure me (with a high degree of uniformity) that this just isn’t what the LDS Church ever upheld as doctrine – and the racist speeches made by past prophets and other LDS church leaders are somehow not significant either. So, my guess is that the LDS Church has a set version of history which it tells to the younger Mormons, that is not at all open or explicit about the racism of before…

    Comment by jesurgislac — 2008, November 27 @ 3:38 pm

  4. jesurgislac,

    I’ve been through this topic pretty thoroughly a few years ago and a little since, and I didn’t discover much “racism” other than what most people try to twist out of comments, unless you want to count the priesthood ban as “racism”. That there was a lot of speculation and question marks, even among the leaders, is clear. That the ban was there and real, and the will of God, should also be clear.

    Many things such as a “the best a black Mormon could hope for was to enter the Celestial Kingdom as a servant” type of things…
    Is this, or even was this, a gospel teaching? doctrine? a pronouncement by prophets, or even by one prophet? Nope. None of the above.
    Was it given in a doctrinal setting for the Church, and put out in Church magazines? Nope.
    Was it given/ testified to by more than one person? Nope.
    Was it condoned by the Church? Nope.
    Does it fit in with all the other teachings of the LDS Church? Nope.

    What about some of what was in “Mormon Doctrine”? I find nothing wrong with that, in a racist way, if it had been true. Nevertheless, anyone can find out about that history, too, and it’s quite clear as to what the LDS Church’s stand on that was. The LDS Church never did uphold that as doctrine, but if you can show evidence otherwise, I’ll post it here. Plus, here’s a simple question that causes problems for that line of thought in “Mormon Doctrine”: if children die before the age of 8–like so many Blacks in Africa do–where do they go?

    The majority of members I know, even the younger ones, know about Blacks being descended from Cain, and I don’t see how that could be counted as “hidden”. The majority of people I know don’t know much about their own religion, period. Members speaking about the Church are also not pronouncers of doctrinal statements that represent the Church… (I remember the ban and its lifting well.) There is a very large difference between a member “not knowing” one rare “forgotten” remark and the LDS Church covering-up, lying, and whitewashing the truth, do you agree?

    Sorry, I’m not really one for someone trying to find fault and going at great lengths to do so, all the while themselves covering-up, lying, and whitewashing the real truth about the “truth” they have uncovered. It’s a clear case of hypocrisy and poor judgment if done knowingly and intentionally (which many don’t or don’t see clearly, I believe).

    As you have pointed out, there is much information in many books, on many websites, and even in many LDS Church books and magazines. Also, many LDS members have written books on the ban, and yet no one has been condemned for telling any truth, etc. I think that all says a lot.

    If you’re looking for perfect people in a perfect church in a very imperfect world, keep looking, you won’t find it in the LDS Church. (Of course, you won’t find it anywhere…) Yet I am unaware of any LDS Church leader, or any prophet in the Bible, making that claim, and the records are clear that is not the case. Joseph Smith, in fact, taught the contrary about himself in particular. Where else do you find, though, church leaders willing and trusting enough to give time over to members understanding enough to give sermons, bear testimony, and teach lessons every week for church services? And do you know that in all my years, I have rarely heard statements from the thousands of people I have heard speak and teach and comments made during discussions that don’t match up with LDS Church doctrine?

    Is the LDS Church open about everything? Of course not. Would I be more pleased if they were open about certain things, and put things “in order” better, with certain comments, reports, happenings, etc.? Yes, I would. Do I wish that the LDS Church, the leaders, and the members were better in all ways? Sure. But isn’t part of the journals (that I still strongly suggest going and reading) about problems in the Church, and even many of the Church leaders? (By the way, where do you find this in many other churches? Who is finding fault with them? Hey, ok, just a note of curiosity for the fault-finders.)

    Here’s one final thing I ask you to think about: if you feel your marriage is of God, is your idea and plan of blamelessness and betterment for yourselves and your children to divulge and reinforce all of you and your wife’s personal and marriage lies and rumors by the neighbors and disdainful relatives/ partially true/ possibly true/ a few true (mostly based on misunderstanding and the times) darker moments to your children every night before they go to bed until they become adults, then test and quiz them to make sure? (I say this not about “racism”, but about everything.)

    Comment by grego — 2008, November 28 @ 1:01 am

  5. Sorry jesurgislac,

    Your comment won’t be posted–too much smelly stuff, not enough facts and substance. If you want to try again, first, please respond to your hypocritical blackwashing (like the irony there?), then I want a reference for “approved” edition, then I want a list of the errors that Elder Peterson found proving what you claim, then a reference for gays as bein an “inferior” people, etc. If you want to vent, wander, avoid the real points, etc., go elsewhere. I already mentioned this in “About Me and this Blog” and have been quite considerate up to now (and still am, I believe). Have a good day! grego

    Comment by grego — 2008, December 1 @ 12:21 am

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