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Church History Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
August 7, 2020 7:37 pm

Church History Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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August 7, 2020 7:37 pm

A one-week series discussing an article in the July 2020 Ensign magazine by Kate Holbrook regarding some of the controversial teachings of the LDS Church.


In their own words collection of Mormon quotations compile research ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic. Pick up your copy you tell lighthouse bookstore or .1. Is it examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint. One more minute 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. Why isn't the Mormon church more open about some of the controversy all things, and its history. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM that question that I raised is not my personal question, but it actually is the title of an article found in the July 2020 edition of & magazine & magazine is a periodical comes out monthly, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints more for an adult audience, but in this edition on page 14. Is this article by Kate Holbrook, Kate Holbrook is the one who asked this question, why isn't the church more open about some of the controversial things in its history house give you a little bit of a background of Kate Holbrook.

She served as a missionary for the LDS church to the country of Russia in the years 1993 and 94.

We don't know exactly how old she is but we can assume from those dates that she's was probably born in the early 70s. So today she would but be in her 40s but she works for the church. She works in the history department and so she writes this article by that title. And she gives an interesting background of her knowledge regarding some of the controversial history behind not just Brigham Young but also Joseph Smith. What is she say in the first paragraph of her article.

When I was four years old my mother and my grandmother worked at the beehive house. Brigham Young's old house in Salt Lake City, Utah. They taught me all about Brigham Young and that he had many wives about 10 years later I learned that Joseph Smith had many wives. I did learn about seer stones which Joseph used to help translate the book of Mormon until I was an adult.

The church did not hide information from me, but the historical information was not as emphasized when I was young before we evaluate what she said in that first paragraph. I think first of all we need to discuss the title of her article back in 2013. In late 2013 the LDS church started coming out with what is known as the gospel topics essays.

These essays, we were to assume were supposed to answer a lot of the thorny questions that many LDS members as well as nonmembers had regarding Mormonism's history doesn't seem odd Eric that those essays first coming out in 2013, then through the years of 2014. I think even into 2015 that this question is still being asked, obviously. And that's why it's found in the July 2020 issue of & magazine. It seems to me that the essays are not really fulfilling are not really doing the job. I think many people in the Mormon church probably thought they would do because these this question is still being asked.

We have talked on occasion about the gospel topics essays, but a few years ago we did a whole series that went through the 11 different essays and talked about what the church was saying and they were very honest in many ways they didn't tell everything but they they did have much to say but if you'd like to read more about that. Maybe you've never heard of the gospel topics essays.

We invite you to go to our website where we have links to all of the articles on the church of Jesus, as well as articles that we have done on those 11 different essays just go to topics essay intro gospel topics essay intro with hyphens between each of those words or just type it into our search engine, but we encourage you to go read the churches gospel topics, essays, and to see what we had to say about it as well as viewpoint on Mormonism podcasts that we have available and I think you're going to find out a lot of information about what the church is said about its own history I get back to what Kate Holbrook says. She says when she was four years old her mother in her grandmother worked at the beehive house.

Of course this is the home of Brigham Young in downtown Salt Lake City.

It was also used as his office when he was the governor of the territory. She says that her mother and grandmother taught her about Brigham Young and that he had many wives. It always strikes me as being odd that most Latter Day Saints don't have a problem with understanding that Brigham Young did practice plural marriage and had several plural wives, but she mentions that was about 10 years later or when she would be. According to her piece about 14 years old that she learned that Joseph Smith had many wives we've noticed that also most Latter Day Saints don't seem to have a problem with believing Brigham Young had many wise, but I remember that when you and I Eric were downtown. We were in the rotunda area of the North visitor center where the statue of the Christus is located in you and I were having a conversation with a couple of sister missionaries and I remember bringing up the fact that Joseph Smith had more than one wife that he will also was a practicing polygamist, I cannot remember her name but I do remember that one of the sister missionaries did not like that. I said that she thought I was incorrect and she started really politely arguing with me saying that no Joseph Smith only had one wife, and of course that would be Emma Smith. But the fact is, he did have plural wisely. I thought it odd that this could not have happened over 15 years ago. I'm thinking it probably happened maybe 10 years ago but still here was a sister missionary who did not know that Joseph Smith had more than one wife. When we were in man tie.

It was the year 2007 I believe there were a number of Christian women who volunteered to represent the plural wives of Joseph Smith. Each one of them was in character. They had a biography of the wife.

They represented in these women would walk down the street where we were all sharing the gospel at that time and they just stood there and Latter Day Saints would come up and asked them questions. Who are you what are you doing and they would explain I represent one of Joseph Smith's plural wives. What was the reaction that we got back in 2007. Now this was that the Mormon miracle pageant that was in man tie and so there were thousands of people who were coming to watch the pageant on the side of the man tie at Temple Hill and a lot of people were very disgusted that we were doing something like this, not so much that we were trying to bring out the truth but rather that we were ringing up a lie.

I can't tell you how many people we heard in the two nights that we did this. That said, Emma was the only wife and would argue with us or the ladies or the girls.

We actually had girls as young as 14. Who who have played those roles and they said that we were telling an anti-Mormon lie that Joseph Smith was never polygamist, and as you mentioned Bill, no problem with Brigham Young.

I mean, everybody knew that Brigham Young was polygamist, but for some reason Joseph Smith never had practices but though we did the same event in 2017. A decade later, the exact same demonstration with different women playing the roles of Joseph Smith's wives and we hardly had any complaints about the historicity of it.

Some people may not have liked it because we were bringing out something they thought was not appropriate at a pageant and that kids were seeing this in this was going to cause problems may be at home for the children asking why were all these women out here was Joseph Smith, polygamist Lee married, but the point being is that a lot of Latter Day Saints based on our experience did not know about Joseph's many marriages before the gospel topics essays came out in the 2014 and 15. And what's fascinating about this is she's admitting that when she was 14. That's what she learns about Joseph Smith having the many wise, but then she goes on to say, I didn't learn about seer stones which Joseph used to help translate the book of Mormon until I was an adult now when it comes to the seer stone. We have been talking about the seer stone for as long as I can remember that's always been a part of the narrative. When we try to explain to people how the book of Mormon allegedly came about Joseph Smith. Of course, had the seer stone. He found this rock while he was digging a well with his brother Hiram.

I believe the year was 1823 and he uses this rock pipe putting it into a hat, putting his face in the hat and then characters would appear on this seer stone. He would read those characters off to his scribe. The scribe would read what he wrote down or what which she wrote down because Emma was one of his scribes and if it was correct it would go on to the next set of characters interesting. She says she did not learn about the seer stone until she was an adult but yet the church has tried to give the impression that they have been very open and transparent about their history, but she makes this interesting comment in the last sentence of the first paragraph. The church did not hide information from me, but the historical information was not as emphasized when I was young I can go along with that. I've often asked myself what we were talking about is we are prepping for the show. There are many Latter Day Saints who have been hurt by the LDS church because they felt that the church did hide information from them will if that's what really took place. What does that look like what does it look like if you're going to accuse the LDS church of actually hiding information. Would that mean if you went down to the LDS church library downtown and you went to go find something on the seer stone. There would be nothing there. Or you could only see if let's say you were a bona fide scholar doing research work. What would that really look like in the reason why I think it it can be dangerous, accusing the Church of actually hiding something.

Is it raises the question will if it's really hiding something. Bill, how did you know about it. I think that's a fair question and that's why I'm reluctant to say that the church has purposely hid a lot of its history. I think she's being correct here when she says that the historical information was not as emphasized when I was young, but if this is a church bell that supposed to be totally transparent. Then you have to ask the question why do many Latter Day Saints at that time not know about Joseph's many marriages or this seer stone. I mean, you remember that movie called the Mormons that was put out by PBS in 2007. They interviewed Brigham Young University Prof. Daniel Peterson and this is what he said in this movie. This in this documentary, he said.

Actually, most of the translation of the book of Mormon was done using something called the seer stone he would put the stone in the bottom of a hat, presumably to exclude surrounding light, and then he would put his face into the hat.

It's a kind of strange image for us in a bill how many Latter Day Saints were upset by what Peterson had actually said and why were they upset, it's because Helen Whitney who produce that documentary when she interviewed someone she gave her name but she didn't tell you whether they were Mormon or not. So if you were not familiar with these individuals. And of course we are when we saw Daniel Peterson image up there. We knew exactly who he was. He was a BYU professor but I remember there was a Mormon who was complaining about that interview and basically in and actually was accusing Dr. Peterson of being some kind of anti-Mormon making up a story like that. We got a chuckle out of that. Because he's one other prominent apologists. You might say will tomorrow were going to continue looking at what Kate Holbrook had to say in this article titled why isn't the church more open about some of the controversial things in its history.

Thank you for listening.

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