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August 7, 2020 7:41 pm
Viewpoint is to examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism. How does a latter-day St. no. If a source about their churches history is reliable. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we are looking at some articles that are found in the July 2020 addition of & magazine and yesterday show. We were talking about an article that was written by Kate Holbrook who works with the church history department and the question that she tried to answer was why isn't the church more open about some of the controversial things in its history and today were going to look at another question just across the page on page 15 of the July issue. How do we know if the source about church history is reliable. Now we been talking about this because first of all, to have such questions being raised now seems quite interesting because the church has at least since 2013 made I think a pretty good effort at trying to be more honest and transparent about its history and we mentioned specifically this week. The gospel topics essays the gospel topics essays came out in 2013 but we also mentioned that in 2010 Marlon K. Jensen and Richard E Turley work to historians that were sent to Stockholm Sweden to answer the question that some of the Swedish members of the LDS church had regarding their history.
How does this all tie in will obviously back in 2010.
A lot of the questions that were being asked by members in Sweden were the very same questions that we were hearing here in the United States questions that we have been hearing for many many years the church comes out with these gospel topics essays as an effort to answer these questions, which is why we find the title to Ms. Holbrook's article to be quite strange.
Why isn't the church more open about some of the controversial things in its history will, according to Quentin L.
Cook and I might mention that these two articles that we just mentioned are sandwiched in between. This article by Quentin L. Cook, who is a member of the quorum of the 12 apostles, whose article is titled church history, a source of strength and inspiration and Eric. You had mentioned that Cook talks about the fact that as being a general authority in the church for over 24 years. He said that he felt that the brethren the leaders of the church have tried to be as transparent as possible, but the examples he gives on page 13 are all things that have come in the last few years. He mentions the Joseph Smith papers gospel topics essays church history topics and the multi volume Saints. He said that's a wonderful way of getting people to study things in context that are true and that will help them understand the gospel of Jesus Christ in a credible way.
But the question I raised yesterday is why only in the last 10 years have we seen a concerted effort to be more transparent and almost like a rush to get these things published in out so that people could read them. But for many years. It seems like not much was being said on issues such as seer stones and other controversial topics within the church but was take one of those topics and that was a topic that was brought up by Kate Holbrook in her article, she talks about how she learned that Brigham Young was a practicing polygamist when she was as young as four years old.
She said that her mother and her grandmother worked at the beehive house.
I would assume that they worked there as tour guides you and I Eric have been to the beehive house several times and sometimes they do tend to mention the fact that Brigham Young was a practicing polygamist and some other tours you take. They don't mention it at all, but she said it was about 10 years later, when she was 14, was when she learned that Joseph Smith had many wives and in this series we are talking about how many Latter Day Saints did not know that Joseph Smith was a practicing polygamist so what's fascinating about that is, we mentioned the two historians Marlon K. Jensen and Richard Turley who were a part of that Swedish rescue is it's come to be known, but there was an article in Reuters titled special report, Mormonism besieged by the modern age, and it told the story about a religious studies class that took place in late 2011 at Utah State University in Logan Utah and who was there to speak Mormon Elder Marlon Jensen, the same Marlon Jensen who was there in Stockholm Sweden for the Swedish rescue in 2010. This article starts off by describing a question that was given by a woman who was in the audience a question that was raised to Mr. Jensen asking if the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints knew that members are quote leaving in droves. He said they did know this that we are aware was his answer but in talking about this transparency.
Something came out in this Q&A. I'm assuming where Marlon Jensen says this my own daughter.
Jensen then added has come to me and said, quote dad, why didn't you ever tell me that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. Now this is the daughter of at this time, the church historian Jensen is no longer the church's story, but he was at this time Eddie was also the church historian at the time that he and Turley spoken Stockholm Sweden his own daughter did not know that Joseph Smith was a polygamist but yet were given the impression.
According to Quentin L.
Cook that the church is been very transparent in the lease for 24 years, according to what he says on page 13 of his article titled church history, a source of strength and inspiration though. I want to go to the article on page 15. I want to come back to Jensen and the Swedish rescue. We talked about yesterday, but first I want to read the for the first paragraph of the answer given by a church employee. His name is macro and the question again is how do we know if the source about church history is reliable. Here's what he writes. I work for the church for the past nine years writing about history I've seen the attitude of our general authorities with relationship to our history. The conversations are not about how do we hide or censor history. Rather, the conversations are about how do we make history accessible available and understandable. Then he goes on of the second paragraph, and he talks about the importance of discerning between good answers and bad answers.
Good information and bad information. Third paragraph he writes this. Be careful about sources of information that just seek to tear people down. Look instead for sources of information that are based on the records left by the people themselves and that seek to be fair to them, though. I want to say it almost seems like the church so long has poisoned the well, saying that any sources outside of its own cannot be trusted and we were talking yesterday about the 2010 was called the Swedish rescue. It was a fireside with about 600, Latter Day Saints, and they were pretty agitated because they were finding things out that they did not know and they said the church never taught so to church historians, come and try to address these issues and there was a tape recorder. This actually got taped and so this is exactly what Jensen is talking to these people and says when they're asked if they could go and check the references he's talking about. This is what he says we've brought a handout for you. These are the five very best websites for authentic answers to those questions were not sure. Could they be apologetic.
Websites like perhaps farms and fair in others that have written that are not official with the church and we should mention that forms the foundation for ancient research and Mormon studies has been renamed as the Neil Maxwell Institute but they do have a website and they do respond to controversial issues within Mormon history and doctrine. He goes on, and he criticizes the sweetest things he says let me just say if you spend as much time on these five websites as you spend on the other websites that he's giving them because I have visited, as has Brother Turley.
Some of these anti-Mormon websites and their very dark to me and Brother Turley and I know many of the people who maintain these websites and I can say to you, they're not the people whose teachings I'm going to follow Bill I ask you by him saying this now.
This is the information they're getting, probably from quote on quote I don't like the word anti-Mormon websites there. Finding out the truth. The church has to say will yeah those things are true, we just didn't quite get all the information out publicly as much, as these anti-Mormons but don't go there because there dark is this not a classic definition of poisoning the well, it certainly seems like it is not anything unusual when you look at some of the statements that have been made. In general conference messages. How many times have Mormon leaders gotten up in general conference and warn people about the Internet and to be careful what sites you go to what they're trying to get their people to do is to stay away from anything that might paint the Mormon church in a bad light when Jensen says they're very dark. What does that mean think it could mean anything. Really when you think about it because what could make you feel bad inside will if you're reading something that seems to conflict with what you already believe to be true.
Back in a few all giddy about it, that's for sure. You're going to realize what I've been believing is not accurate, and I'm going to be compelled if I'm an honest person to make a course correction and what I believe what I'm reading from is from our website MRM.org/fiery fireside with a hyphen in between. I want to go a little further to skip some and go back to Jensen when he's talking back and forth with the Swedish members and he says, by and large, and I'd like you to know that as a church history department we have at Pres. Boyd K.
Packer's direction. Put together a committee to create answers to difficult gospel questions.
We are working on these answers now and were also giving thought to how we will disseminate these answers to the world. We don't want a website where people come to Mormon problems, obviously, but you'll find if you go to these websites answers that you can rely on to almost all your questions including Adam God Bill, I have to mention I typed in Adam.
God just to see what the church of Jesus Christ.org would say about that. Not one mention is made of Adam God and and that issue was not included in the gospel topics essays, but let me just say what he's saying here is that they had to scramble in 2010, and yet we have a quote here by Mr. Cook. Apostle Cook says in the 24 years he had served. He has seen that they've tried to be totally transparent. Why are they having to come up with all of these answers to questions that did not just originate in 2010. These are questions that have been around for many years. The thing that I find interesting is that when Matt Groh asked the question on page 15. How do we know if a source about church history is reliable.
He doesn't really answer the question. You would think it would be reliable if it was truthful if it was truthful. Who cares if it may tend as he says to tear people down if that's a part of history.
Then that needs to be taken into account, you can't just ignore it just because you feel it's not treating somebody as nicely as you would like them to be treated if it's an accurate appraisal of what an individual did or what an individual said then that needs to be accepted and those those saints from before 2010. They had to rely on sites like ours to be able to know what exactly the church was teaching. Thank you for listening.
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