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Historian Press will document LDS Church past

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  • Bet you didn't know...
    Feb. 28, 2008 3:57 a.m.

    >
    The LDS Hierarchy, many times, asked the Tanners for historical material, because they could count on its authenticity.
    FARMS and FAIR... unreliable for obvious reasons.
    .

  • Kyle from AZ
    Feb. 26, 2008 11:43 p.m.

    Personally I wonder about the mental stability of someone who calls himself by the nickname "The Shadow" and ends all his posts with "The Shadow Knows"....and you are worried about Joseph Smith's character and mental state? The Shadow may think he knows but he certainly hasn't done his homewrok...fyi....just so you know...that you may gain wisdom...step out of the shadow and into the sun...the church archives have been open for years and research has been done with these SAME materials that are going to be published FOR YEARS. Your ignorance on the matter is unfortunately very obvious. By the way there is no such thing as a "neutral" objective historian. Historians are humans and will write history as they see it and how they interpret it...it has always been this way and will always be. Even if we had a time machine to travel back and view the events as they happened two different people are going to come to different conclusions. Fortunately for the sanity of people in this discussion.....Kyle from AZ knows!

  • selection
    Feb. 26, 2008 11:24 p.m.

    I'm skeptical about this project. I feel the church will most likely selectively publish only that which is "happy time, good feelings" instead of being completely open. After the butchering of Brigham Youngs sermons to create the BY Manual a few years back, I've been less likely to trust the intentions of whatever comittee does the work. I like the idea towards the begining of the post; let Google scan all the documents so they are accessible in their entirety to the public.

  • shawilli
    Feb. 26, 2008 10:49 p.m.

    the true story of Joseph Smith ust be accepted by faith, he said himself that he would not have belived it himself if it had not happened to him. I guess we can speculate on the end results of this project, but it will be an attempt to dispel myths and rumors about the Prophet's life. I for one would welcome the books, although I am sorry that the project is slated to take some 15 years to complete. I will say that in attempting this huge project the church is showing it's willingness to open itself up to both it's friends and it's foes in a way that has never been attempted before. I think the end result will prove to be quite interesting to some and a great source of contention to others.

  • John Lambert
    Feb. 26, 2008 8:14 p.m.

    To Anonymous at 3:31, you forget that it is always possible to substitute a word if you want to get a new meaning. Will Bagley did it to Dimick Huntington's journal, and we all know Bagley is one of the most objective and accurate historians out there. Just look at how much he was quoted on PBS's the Mormons, and we all know that he is right that there was no anti-Mormon hostility until Joseph Smith moved to Missouri, the tarring and feathering of Edward Patridge was just a nice friendly act.

  • russ
    Feb. 26, 2008 7:55 p.m.

    One of the curious features of Mormonism is its history is recent, and in fact on-going. But the accuracy of the history is very debatable. When dealing with Moses and such a lot of the work is open to interpretation, including up to the resurrection of Jesus. Faith.

    But Mormonism suffers from a different virus. It is recent yet with numerous accounts. Due to the recentness people just KNOW that one or two or three of the accounts is 100% accurate. It just has to be because it is recent. Not so with the Bible. It is accepted on the basis of faith.

    hmmmm.

  • shadow
    Feb. 26, 2008 7:55 p.m.

    To the Elusive One: you are right. I blew by that part about the group that is part of the National Archives. That is good news indeed.

    Of course, the project will not be completed for years and years and years. Hmmmmmmmm. Will it make it, or will something come up whereby bits and pieces have to be left out? If only I could live so long.

    Robert has the right idea. Put them on google and let the world right in. No need to sell them, etc.
    Even to cover costs... no costs if you lay them out on google. Catholic Chruch will have to do the same, no?

    Ah, nothing worse than letting the rabble in the streets read for themselves. That was one argument that the early Christian Church had with the printing presses. But they lost out and the masses got to read everything.

    The problem of having people who are intelligent, who read, and who think. Hard to keep them in line.

    The Shadow Knows.

  • Idaho Kid
    Feb. 26, 2008 7:08 p.m.

    I am curious. How much did the author of Banner of Heaven make in dollars and cents for this great work of truth?

  • GCF
    Feb. 26, 2008 6:39 p.m.

    It appears to me those who most fear our publishing our histoty are those who are outside of the Church and those who have chose to become disengaed with it, whether physically, menatlly, or spiritually. Our history will stand...its veracity lies beyond debate and mere pages of written text...those who whould take issue or defile will do so; those who cherish their heritage (birth or conversion) will do so...

  • Jacob
    Feb. 26, 2008 6:32 p.m.

    Under the Banner of Heaven is not a true history and never will be. It was criticized by many non Mormons as being poorly done as well.

  • To the elusive one...
    Feb. 26, 2008 5:48 p.m.

    The shadow may know some things but apparently reading isn't one of them. If you will actually read the article you will notice that they have gained the endorsement of a non-biased organization dedicated to the accurate publication of historical documents.

    That you still find fault and claim the church is not being forthcoming proves only that they will never be able to convince some people of their honest intentions no matter what they do.

    Who cares who actually pays for the printing as long as it contains an accurate record of the events as evidenced by a independent third party.

  • Fred
    Feb. 26, 2008 5:02 p.m.

    "Believe it or not, there are neutral historians out there."

    And just how do you identify the neutral ones? And who's going to do it?

  • wrz
    Feb. 26, 2008 4:59 p.m.

    "If you want honesty, you have to be open. Catholicism fails that test repeatedly. And so does Mormonism."

    The reason we wear clothes is because we want to hide something... many times what we are hiding is ugly. A reality but nonetheless ugly. And there's nothing wrong with that.

  • Anomy
    Feb. 26, 2008 4:54 p.m.

    "I'm sorry, but there are a alot of people confused by Marlin Jensen's comments about compassion toward illegal aliens. Instead of trying to deflect this issue by having him present a new topic, so we forget what he just did at the Capitol, it would be better if he would help us members better understand the brethern's current position on obeying the laws of the land. Then maybe at some future time, these old records might be more interesting to hear about. Just my opinion."

    Why? Can't you chew gum and walk at the same time?

  • Alex
    Feb. 26, 2008 4:08 p.m.

    "Some of Joseph Smith's papers have been withheld in the past including the "Book of the Law of the Lord". They have been held in a separate archive maintained by the First Presidency of the Church. "

    If this is in a separate archive, how do you know of its existence? I am aware of a text by the same name that James K Strang claims to have translated in the 1850s. He left the saints and settled in Wisconsin.

  • shadow
    Feb. 26, 2008 3:40 p.m.

    Hey, the Catholics have their press. The Lutherans have their press. If the Mormon Church wishes to have its press, so be it.

    Of course, the problem of "no one believes us" still would exist. What you have to do is open up the records. Catholic Church still doesn't do that. And thus their media is always under suspicion. If you wish to be open, you have to be... open.

    It would behoove the Mormon Church to open the records, give a large donation to a neutral press and national historical society, and let the chips fall on the table. Apparently, this isn't going to happen. Why?

    Which tells me... what? That is what I thought.

    If you want honesty, you have to be open. Catholicism fails that test repeatedly. And so does Mormonism.

    If you want to have a press, have a press. But do not claim that suddenly everything will truthful, etc. You can only do that by opening the records and allowing neutral historians to do research.

    Believe it or not, there are neutral historians out there. Granted, some are not. But there are plenty of neutral ones for the work to be done.

    The Shadown Knows.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2008 3:31 p.m.

    "Under the Banner of Heaven"?!?! Yeah, I'd much rather read a book written by someone with an agenda than read original documents. That seems like a really good idea. He anti-Mormons: here's a good quote for you to use right out of the Book of Mormon - "The church... is full... of cattle... who... must... be baptized." Don't forget the ellipses when you quote that - I know that happens sometimes.

  • Joseph Smith's horse
    Feb. 26, 2008 3:28 p.m.

    was named Charley. His second-favorite horse was named "Joe Duncan" in "honor" of the governor of Illinois. Joseph sometimes referred to the horse as "Governor."

  • It'll never happen
    Feb. 26, 2008 3:22 p.m.

    These volumes will never be finished--not because the Church is trying to hide anything, but because the aged gentlemen working on the project are so old and slow that they'll all be dead before it happens.

  • Henry Drummond
    Feb. 26, 2008 3:14 p.m.

    Some of Joseph Smith's papers have been withheld in the past including the "Book of the Law of the Lord". They have been held in a separate archive maintained by the First Presidency of the Church. I believe the official reason in the past has been that they contain material considered too sacred or too personal to publish. There are other journals including some of George Q. Cannon's journals that have also been withheld in the past.

    I would be interested in knowing if they are going to be included in the projects mentioned in the article.

  • Kyle from AZ
    Feb. 26, 2008 3:11 p.m.

    While crackhead's under the banner of heaven is an interesting read no doubt, it is far from being an objective history of anything but what he wanted it to be and the religious sensationalism he wished to portray.

  • Jon B. Holbrook
    Feb. 26, 2008 2:20 p.m.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been more honest in recording its history and doctrine than any other organization, religious or profane. The Lord so mandated it when the Church was formally organized. I, therefore know that I can trust the new Church Historian's Press. It is the enemies of the Church who distort the history, doctrines and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their own ulterior purposes. Anybody who knows the origin and history of the Church can plainly discern the deceptive nature of anti-Mormon publications. President John Taylor once said that when the enemies of the Church chose to misrepresent the Church, we must represent ourselves. The Church Historian's Press will go along way in fulfilling this mandate from a Prophet of God in getting the Truth out to the honest in heart. Thank-You

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2008 2:18 p.m.

    "Not to discuss the name of Joseph's horse when he was with the Nauvoo Legion."

    "Traveler." Oops, no, that was Tommy Trojan's and Bobby Lee's. "Bucephalus." No, that's Alex the Great. "Rienzi." No, that was Bill Sheridan.

    All right. I give up. What was it?

  • Mark
    Feb. 26, 2008 1:36 p.m.

    This really is one of the greatest efforts to honestly tell the history of the Church. It should certainly "raise the bar" on historical and theological discourse within the Church!

  • Alex
    Feb. 26, 2008 1:35 p.m.

    Hey fiction:

    "If you want true mormon history, read Under the Banner of Heaven. "

    Why not, there is no sense in letting original documents get in the way of a really juicy story.

  • valley guy
    Feb. 26, 2008 1:26 p.m.

    the overzealous "pioneers" probably destroyed anything that made the prophet look bad.

    It was probably destroyed a long time ago.

    there will be nothing controversial, because the church would not want controversy to surround it.

  • WAHOO!
    Feb. 26, 2008 12:56 p.m.

    What a great project. I've always sought to read and learn as much about Joseph and the Church's early history as possible. These volumes will certainly be joining my shelf! I'm so grateful that the general public, member or non-member, will have access to these historical records.

  • fiction
    Feb. 26, 2008 12:55 p.m.

    If you want true mormon history, read Under the Banner of Heaven.

  • Alex
    Feb. 26, 2008 11:27 a.m.

    I can't wait to buy these volumes. Some critics in the past have taken advantage of the fact that the average person doesn't have access to source documentation to refute their misrepresentations.

    I am glad that the church is expending the time and effort to make these documents available to the world.

    Patata Brava nailed the issue of critics manipulating our history when he said, "Someone once told me 'You Mormons, why do you ignore your own history?' I told him 'When you stop making stuff up then we will stop ignoring it.'" We will soon have more resources than we ever had. I am looking forward to the product.

  • I'm not worried
    Feb. 26, 2008 11:27 a.m.

    Never have the enemies of the church told all the truth, and all too often church members "white-wash" the truth. We try to make things look better to our current standards, overlooking the fact that 150 years ago was a different society with different standards.

    But I'm not worried. The fight will go on. I know what I know.

  • CRM
    Feb. 26, 2008 10:18 a.m.

    As an avid historian of church history I look forward to this great work. Regards Shamrock, the "good the bad and the ugly" has already been published or otherwise made known concerning the Danites and the Kirtland Safety Society Bank and many other historical phenomenon, both good and not so good. For a great condensed and unvarnished historical work of considerable veracity read Richard Lyman Bushman's "Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling". You will see that gradually we are coming to the point where we are not afraid of our history but are, in spite of coincidental acts of human frailties, inspired by it.

  • PV
    Feb. 26, 2008 10:18 a.m.

    Have no fears, the enemies of the Church will continue "selective editing" just as they have been doing for as long as they've been around.

    And the Church archives have been open to historians both inside and outside the Church for many years. The primary difference this publication will make is that the material will be more readily available to the general public.

  • sds
    Feb. 26, 2008 10:07 a.m.

    I attended a meeting where all the key leaders of the project spoke and answered questions. Everything that the Prophet Joseph wrote or caused to be written will be published. I remember Mr. Esplin saying that it was important that the Church take back its history. From now on whenever anyone wants to publish something about the Prophet Joseph Smith they will have to quote it from a direct source.

  • Deal with Immigration First
    Feb. 26, 2008 10:04 a.m.

    I'm sorry, but there are a alot of people confused by Marlin Jensen's comments about compassion toward illegal aliens. Instead of trying to deflect this issue by having him present a new topic, so we forget what he just did at the Capitol, it would be better if he would help us members better understand the brethern's current position on obeying the laws of the land. Then maybe at some future time, these old records might be more interesting to hear about. Just my opinion.

  • Joe
    Feb. 26, 2008 10:02 a.m.

    If the Church makes the claim that this is a complete compilation of Joseph's writings, it will have to be so. If it is not, there are all too many people who will be anxious to jump on it and bring forth other documents that were not included.

    For example, let's say that it does not include anything on the Danites or the Kirtland Safety Society Bank. Then Shamrock will bring forth his infallible sources of those materials and will be able to show how the work was sanitized.

    Of course, if there is no such material in existence, Shamrock and his ilk don't have to worry. They can still accomplish what they want through innuendo and suggestion.

    Though they demand full accountability from the church, I've found they rarely demand the same standard from themselves and their favorite sources. They tend to be satisfied with the accounts of the church's enemies or even rumors without demanding any scholarly scrutiny.

  • c.dean
    Feb. 26, 2008 8:50 a.m.

    I look forward to the publishing of these journals. I hope the information is not edited. Only the full truth has any real meaning, not sanitized versions to make anyone or organization look to be something it is not. A half truth is really no different than a full lie.

  • Shamrock
    Feb. 26, 2008 8:54 a.m.

    Oh they will, will they?
    Will they include the Kirtland Safety Society Bank?
    Will they include the Danites?

  • Robert
    Feb. 26, 2008 8:46 a.m.

    Anything and everything published by the church will have to be and will always be taken with a grain of salt. The proper and right way to make public all the church history and records and reveal the truth of all matters is to contract google to copy and document all records and history and make it available to the world for study and review. The church should be provided the means to provide foot notes and explanations where it feels it is needed for understanding and clarity.

  • RE:Tanner's
    Feb. 26, 2008 8:26 a.m.

    I'm sure they think people should come to them, and their "editing" processes are still above anything the church would ever do.

  • me
    Feb. 26, 2008 8:09 a.m.

    Tanners and accuracy in the same sentence? LOL!

  • arc
    Feb. 26, 2008 7:48 a.m.

    I look forward to reading this, however for a really good look at this, just look at the current study manual for Relief Society and Priesthood.

  • Patata Brava
    Feb. 26, 2008 6:29 a.m.

    Someone once told me "You Mormons, why do you ignore your own history?" I told him "When you stop making stuff up then we will stop ignoring it."

    We have to tell our own story because no one else will get it right. I have heard LOTS of misinformation, and I am very happy and excited about the Joseph Smith papers project.

    I am very aware of many of the "troublesome history" topics typically not covered in Gospel Doctrine class. The purpose of Sunday School is to teach people to come to Christ though faith, repentance and baptism and provide examples the lives of real people for illustrative and discussion purposes. Not to discuss the name of Joseph's horse when he was with the Nauvoo Legion.

    Still it is important for all of us Mormons to know and understand our history because we will both gain a greater respect for what real people lived through and inoculate ourselves against whatever taken out of context charges people against the church make. (That original guy said that Joseph had murdered people and burnt down half of Nauvoo when the Expositor press was broken). We have nothing to fear by knowing the truth.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 26, 2008 6:30 a.m.

    This is good because as an LDS person I'm interested in history that is not white-washed. I've read "Adventures of a Church Historian" which is an excellent book about the challenges that Leonard Arrington, the church historian of the 1970's, had in writing objective church history.

  • question
    Feb. 26, 2008 6:22 a.m.

    So, will the Joseph Smith papers actually contain the several different accounts of the 1st vision? Or will it just have the last, best-revised, generally accepted by the LDS Church version?

  • b
    Feb. 26, 2008 5:49 a.m.

    I look forward to this book being available