Editing the Official History

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Jason Bourne
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Post by Jason Bourne »

Ray A wrote:Van Wagoner also commented:

The official History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published in book form under the direction of the First Presidency in 1902. The introductory assurance that 'no historical or doctrinal statement has been changed' is demonstrably wrong. Overshadowed by editorial censorship, hundreds of deletions, additions, and alterations, these seven volumes are not always reliable. The official history is a partisan chronology, a flawed legacy for rank-and-file believers. Not only does this history place polygamy and Brigham Young's ecclesiastical significance in the rosy glow of political acceptability, it smooths out Joseph Smith's rough-hewn edges, tidies up his more disreputable adventures, and deletes unfulfilled prophecies. In the process of remaking Mormon history, a monumental disservice was done to Rigdon and others who challenged the Quorum of the Twelve's 1844 ascent to power.

The nineteenth-century propaganda mill was so adroit that few outside Brigham Young's inner circle were aware of the behind-the-scenes alterations so seamlessly stitched into church history. Charles Wesley Wandell, an assistant church historian, was aghast at these emendations. Commenting on the many changes made in the historical work as it was being serialized in the Deseret News, Wandell noted in his diary:

I notice the interpolations because having been employed in the Historian's office at Nauvoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph's death his memoir was 'doctored' to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards.

The Quorum of the Twelve, under Young's leadership, began altering the historical record shortly after Smith's death. Contrary to the introduction's claim, Smith did not author the History of the Church.


http://lds-mormon.com/history.shtml



Yes this is the item I referenced earlier and said my source was at home. Wandell was the Church historian I referred to.

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SatanWasSetUp
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Post by SatanWasSetUp »

truth dancer wrote:I just really don't see why Joseph Smith gets a free pass... he can do ANYTHING and it is all excused away.


Of course he can. That's one of the perks of being a prophet, or a religious leader of any title. Joseph Smith could stand before his spellbound followers, squat down and take a dump, and his follower would bear testimony with every fiber of their being that the prophet's stool sample was perfectly formed and odorless.

IMO, a prophet of God should be held to a higher standard than the average guy not a lower standard where he gets away with anything and everything.

I understand people are human but really... it floors me how people can trust Joseph Smith when he is clearly untrustworthy, can hold him as a great spiritual leader when his behavior is clearly immoral and reprehensible, call him a prophet of God when he doesn't even hold the minimum standards of decency.

It baffles me.

~dancer~


It is baffling to outsiders, but it is easy to understand why TBMs defend Joseph Smith to the very end. If they admit Joseph was flawed, immoral, or a con artist, they admit that they were duped. It's a hard thing to do, admit that you fell for an obvious con. Iremember going through this myself. I fought my doubts for a while, but once the evidence became overwhelming I couldn't believe it any longer. However, it was still hard to admit that I fell for something that was so obviously untrue.
"We of this Church do not rely on any man-made statement concerning the nature of Deity. Our knowledge comes directly from the personal experience of Joseph Smith." - Gordon B. Hinckley

"It's wrong to criticize leaders of the Mormon Church even if the criticism is true." - Dallin H. Oaks

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Seven
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Post by Seven »

[
quote="SatanWasSetUp

I understand people are human but really... it floors me how people can trust Joseph Smith when he is clearly untrustworthy, can hold him as a great spiritual leader when his behavior is clearly immoral and reprehensible, call him a prophet of God when he doesn't even hold the minimum standards of decency.

It baffles me.

~dancer~

It is baffling to outsiders, but it is easy to understand why TBMs defend Joseph Smith to the very end. If they admit Joseph was flawed, immoral, or a con artist, they admit that they were duped. It's a hard thing to do, admit that you fell for an obvious con. Iremember going through this myself. I fought my doubts for a while, but once the evidence became overwhelming I couldn't believe it any longer. However, it was still hard to admit that I fell for something that was so obviously untrue.
[/quote][/quote]

As an active TBM, when I first learned of Fannie Alger and all the other women who were coerced into adultery, my first reaction was that Joseph was a con man. I realized how much emphasis is placed on Joseph Smith's life in church materials. I thought the focus had been on Christ, but my entire testimony of God and Jesus Christ was tied directly to Joseph Smith and the religion. Do other religions have that problem with Prophets in the Bible?

I understand how TBM's feel trapped by the evidence. If they admit it was adultery, then how does this fit in with the testimony they have of the Book of Mormon? It is a tough spot to be in. TBMs will say they believe the prophets are fallible, but I have never heard one admit to anything unethical in Joseph's behavior. Prophets in the Bible have made serious errors and they had consequences but God seemed to be very forgiving and allowed them to remain Prophets. We don't idolize those Prophets the way Joseph Smith is and that is where I think the problem is for many.
The year of celebrating Joseph's birthday, it was bordering on worship. When the Christmas Ensign didn't even have Christ on the cover, I was floored.

If God did command the things I feel in my heart are abominable, then He ceases to follow a moral law. I would rather go with my conscience, and believe God does not sanction adultery in the disguise of polygamy than believe a married man having orgasms with young girls, causing his wife emotional turmoil, is God's way of "raising seed unto him." It doesn't work for me if I hope to retain a relationship with my Savior.
"Happiness is the object and design of our existence...
That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another." Joseph Smith

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Runtu
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Post by Runtu »

Seven wrote:As an active TBM, when I first learned of Fannie Alger and all the other women who were coerced into adultery, my first reaction was that Joseph was a con man. I realized how much emphasis is placed on Joseph Smith's life in church materials. I thought the focus had been on Christ, but my entire testimony of God and Jesus Christ was tied directly to Joseph Smith and the religion. Do other religions have that problem with Prophets in the Bible?

I understand how TBM's feel trapped by the evidence. If they admit it was adultery, then how does this fit in with the testimony they have of the Book of Mormon? It is a tough spot to be in. TBMs will say they believe the prophets are fallible, but I have never heard one admit to anything unethical in Joseph's behavior. Prophets in the Bible have made serious errors and they had consequences but God seemed to be very forgiving and allowed them to remain Prophets. We don't idolize those Prophets the way Joseph Smith is and that is where I think the problem is for many.
The year of celebrating Joseph's birthday, it was bordering on worship. When the Christmas Ensign didn't even have Christ on the cover, I was floored.

If God did command the things I feel in my heart are abominable, then He ceases to follow a moral law. I would rather go with my conscience, and believe God does not sanction adultery in the disguise of polygamy than believe a married man having orgasms with young girls, causing his wife emotional turmoil, is God's way of "raising seed unto him." It doesn't work for me if I hope to retain a relationship with my Savior.


I wonder why it is that some believers simply can't allow for us to follow our consciences. I understand exactly what you mean. I don't begrudge those who can make this work, but for me, there was nothing worse than realizing just what I was capable of rationalizing. I like having a clear conscience better.
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If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

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Jason Bourne
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Post by Jason Bourne »

Today I found another bit of historical distortion. This is not in the official Church History. It has to do with the succession of BY and the 12. I am sure most of you know the story of August 8, 1844 when Rigdon and Young both spoke to a large gathering of saints regarding succession issues. Rigdon made his play there but was very well defeated by Brother Brigham. While the 12 did not take immediate control of the Church that day it was the beginning of that happening and certainly the beginning of the end for Rigdon.

Later accounts of that day talk about the transfiguration of Brigham into Joseph. Some claim that when Brigham spoke it was the voice of Joseph Smith and even some thought BY looked like Joseph Smith. This has been accounted as a miracle that confirmed to many that Brigham was indeed the successor to the Prophet.

Interestingly Van Wagner notes that there were no contemporary accounts of this transfiguration and they were all recorded later, in Utah, by Utah saints. But the doozer for me is that some two of the most express accounts were given by Orson Hyde. The big problem is this. Orson was out of town on August 8, 1844. He did not arrive in Nauvoo until August 13,1844. But he testified to having witnessed this event, that he heard Joseph's voice come from Brigham and even saw Joseph's face.

Now, interpolations to the historical record are one thing, and not too good of a thing IMO. But Orson, well he flat out fabricated and lied about this event as far as his personal experience with it goes.

You know, this is pretty sad for me. Growing up in the Church I always thought the story of Brigham sounding like Joseph was pretty cool. Now, I can add this to the growing pile of things that just may not be the way I was taught it was.

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Seven
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Post by Seven »

Jason Bourne wrote:Today I found another bit of historical distortion. This is not in the official Church History. It has to do with the succession of BY and the 12. I am sure most of you know the story of August 8, 1844 when Rigdon and Young both spoke to a large gathering of saints regarding succession issues. Rigdon made his play there but was very well defeated by Brother Brigham. While the 12 did not take immediate control of the Church that day it was the beginning of that happening and certainly the beginning of the end for Rigdon.

Later accounts of that day talk about the transfiguration of Brigham into Joseph. Some claim that when Brigham spoke it was the voice of Joseph Smith and even some thought BY looked like Joseph Smith. This has been accounted as a miracle that confirmed to many that Brigham was indeed the successor to the Prophet.

Interestingly Van Wagner notes that there were no contemporary accounts of this transfiguration and they were all recorded later, in Utah, by Utah saints. But the doozer for me is that some two of the most express accounts were given by Orson Hyde. The big problem is this. Orson was out of town on August 8, 1844. He did not arrive in Nauvoo until August 13,1844. But he testified to having witnessed this event, that he heard Joseph's voice come from Brigham and even saw Joseph's face.

Now, interpolations to the historical record are one thing, and not too good of a thing IMO. But Orson, well he flat out fabricated and lied about this event as far as his personal experience with it goes.

You know, this is pretty sad for me. Growing up in the Church I always thought the story of Brigham sounding like Joseph was pretty cool. Now, I can add this to the growing pile of things that just may not be the way I was taught it was.


I am not surprised. I had always wondered if this story was a myth or fabricated. It really raises questions for me about the RLDS church vs. LDS. This is a great thread and I have learned some new history. I am planning to read this book. Not that it matters to me, but what is VanWagoner's status in the LDS church? (I like to know before I recommend his work to TBM family) I have his book "Mormon Polygamy" and was given some lectures from ignorant TBMs that he is anti Mormon.
"Happiness is the object and design of our existence...
That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another." Joseph Smith

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Runtu
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Post by Runtu »

There are also no contemporaneous accounts of the "Miracle of the Seagulls."

Oh, the horror!!
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Post by moksha »

Jason Bourne wrote:Today I found another bit of historical distortion. This is not in the official Church History. It has to do with the succession of BY and the 12. I am sure most of you know the story of August 8, 1844 when Rigdon and Young both spoke to a large gathering of saints regarding succession issues. Rigdon made his play there but was very well defeated by Brother Brigham. While the 12 did not take immediate control of the Church that day it was the beginning of that happening and certainly the beginning of the end for Rigdon.

Later accounts of that day talk about the transfiguration of Brigham into Joseph. Some claim that when Brigham spoke it was the voice of Joseph Smith and even some thought BY looked like Joseph Smith. This has been accounted as a miracle that confirmed to many that Brigham was indeed the successor to the Prophet.

Interestingly Van Wagner notes that there were no contemporary accounts of this transfiguration and they were all recorded later, in Utah, by Utah saints. But the doozer for me is that some two of the most express accounts were given by Orson Hyde. The big problem is this. Orson was out of town on August 8, 1844. He did not arrive in Nauvoo until August 13,1844. But he testified to having witnessed this event, that he heard Joseph's voice come from Brigham and even saw Joseph's face.

Now, interpolations to the historical record are one thing, and not too good of a thing IMO. But Orson, well he flat out fabricated and lied about this event as far as his personal experience with it goes.

You know, this is pretty sad for me. Growing up in the Church I always thought the story of Brigham sounding like Joseph was pretty cool. Now, I can add this to the growing pile of things that just may not be the way I was taught it was.

Perhaps Brother Crocket could testify to whether this is the truth or not?
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

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SatanWasSetUp
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Post by SatanWasSetUp »

Jason Bourne wrote:Today I found another bit of historical distortion. This is not in the official Church History. It has to do with the succession of BY and the 12. I am sure most of you know the story of August 8, 1844 when Rigdon and Young both spoke to a large gathering of saints regarding succession issues. Rigdon made his play there but was very well defeated by Brother Brigham. While the 12 did not take immediate control of the Church that day it was the beginning of that happening and certainly the beginning of the end for Rigdon.

Later accounts of that day talk about the transfiguration of Brigham into Joseph. Some claim that when Brigham spoke it was the voice of Joseph Smith and even some thought BY looked like Joseph Smith. This has been accounted as a miracle that confirmed to many that Brigham was indeed the successor to the Prophet.

Interestingly Van Wagner notes that there were no contemporary accounts of this transfiguration and they were all recorded later, in Utah, by Utah saints. But the doozer for me is that some two of the most express accounts were given by Orson Hyde. The big problem is this. Orson was out of town on August 8, 1844. He did not arrive in Nauvoo until August 13,1844. But he testified to having witnessed this event, that he heard Joseph's voice come from Brigham and even saw Joseph's face.

Now, interpolations to the historical record are one thing, and not too good of a thing IMO. But Orson, well he flat out fabricated and lied about this event as far as his personal experience with it goes.

You know, this is pretty sad for me. Growing up in the Church I always thought the story of Brigham sounding like Joseph was pretty cool. Now, I can add this to the growing pile of things that just may not be the way I was taught it was.


If I was to put on my apologist thinking cap, I think a good explanation is Orson Hyde saw the transfiguration through revelation. There isn't any official church approved document that says he didn't see it through revelation, so it could be possible. Even if his statements make it sound as if he were there, he was mistaken. It's okay, it happens, everyone makes mistakes. Since we know that Orson Hyde saw the transfiguration, and we know that he was not in Nauvoo when the transfiguration took place, the only possible explanation is Orson Hyde saw the transfiguration through the power of god, through revelation, far away from the actual event. Rather than damage your testimony, this miraculous event should strengthen it, because it makes the miracle of the transfiguration even more miraculous.

Lucky for me I don't have to come up with excuses like this with a straight face, but I must admit, it's kinda fun and surprisingly easy.
"We of this Church do not rely on any man-made statement concerning the nature of Deity. Our knowledge comes directly from the personal experience of Joseph Smith." - Gordon B. Hinckley

"It's wrong to criticize leaders of the Mormon Church even if the criticism is true." - Dallin H. Oaks

harmony
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Post by harmony »

Runtu wrote:There are also no contemporaneous accounts of the "Miracle of the Seagulls."

Oh, the horror!!


WHAT?????

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