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Saints: The Standard of Truth Review Part 1 (Introduction)

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2020 8:50 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Review Part 1 (Introduction)

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 2, 2020 8:50 pm

In this, the first episode of a six-week series, MRM’s Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson review different sections throughout the church’s new history book titled Saints: The Standard of Truth, that was published in 2018.


.1 Mormonism examines 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 welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM back on June 18, 2008 teen the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at that time was known as announced that the church was going to be releasing the first of a four volume narrative about the early Saints. This book is titled Saints. The story of the church of Jesus Christ and latter days volume on the standard of truth and it goes between the dates of 1815 1846. This announcement said that the book was going to be released on September 4, 2018 and people actually mentioned that if they had the Gospel library app that all of a sudden it appeared on there absolutely were true the word in releasing this book on September 4, 2018. Now, you might ask yourself why was it necessary for the church to release a new volume of history.

Since there have been a number of historical volumes that have been released throughout LDS Church history, the article itself mentions that this was going to be the first multi volume church history, published in 88 years and often times when you hear us, citing historical references on this show. Many times we are either going to what's known as the documentary history of the church which is famously known as the blue sets because that was the color of the cover and there was also what was known as the comprehensive history of the church, which was a six volume set. The reason why we like to cite those sources because they do have the backing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and when you agree Eric that they were quite detailed and how they explain the history if you look for instance at the documentary history of the church.

The blue volumes they almost are written like a diary form.

They have a date so you know exactly when this event took place. You know exactly when Joseph Smith said certain things they cite from various writings that he put forth in various things that were said and done during this time. So it was kind of easy to pinpoint when exactly something was said and when exactly something was done. This new type of history is certainly not in that format and it would be easy to say that the new history Saints, what would it be right to say it's more of a dumbed down version. Well, I may be simpler version. It's written for young adults. I would even say it's written in a style that a fifth-grader could read and in this book, which is very large.

I'm talking about almost 700 pages and yet the type is probably about a 12 point font and there's a lot of letting there so I read this book. I don't know of the 700 pages lot of its footnotes. Of course, but I probably read it is six or seven, eight hours. I don't know total I mean because you're able just flipped right through. If you're a faster reader and that was something that I think they wanted to do.

Make it as simple as possible. They were able to introduce characters that really were not movers and shakers as far as the leadership they tell a lot of stories, perhaps for 1/21 century audience who doesn't not really want all of the exact details that of the seven volume or six volume says that you were mentioning but wanting to just have a basic idea. So you're able to bring out the people you want and to create the emotions that I think that they're trying to get across it in his first volume very much a persecuted people they were being kicked out of different places and and how they were being persecuted. I think that might be the theme of this first volume when the volume was released on September 4, an article came out in the Salt Lake Tribune and it had a picture of the historian at that time which is church historian Stephen Snow who was related to Mormon apostle Erastus no.

And it does say that the emphasis in this new history is more for as you mentioned Eric for young adults in the church, but it goes on to say in another bullet point that the last time the church published an official multivolume history was in 1930 before church membership had reached 1 million. And when most Latter Day Saints lived in North America today, the Utah based church has more than 16 million members worldwide that I can see the advantage of coming out with a history written in this narrative style and that's the description that is been given to it because you do have a lot of people now interested in LDS Church history, who are not from the United States. English is not their first language. This would no doubt be much easier for them to read and it gets rid of a lot of what they might think is American minutiae that probably wouldn't pertain to them. Maybe to us especially to us who make it our life's calling to research the history and to try to be very precise in how we report LDS Church history, but I would imagine that a lot of the membership being outside of the United States would not be interested in a lot of that. Of course you're going to lose a lot in having it written this way. Could that possibly be one of the reasons why they came out with this more narrative type style in the same way that a bell I would say that a lot of what they do admit to in here in this book. I was actually surprised in order to get a chance over these next few weeks to talk about some of the scenes that they bring out over the course of about 30 years, presses, let me just bring out one example polygamy when they talk about just dismiss polygamy. They do acknowledge that they do talk about it.

In fact, they talk about the Partridge sisters throughout the book all the way from little girls until they end up marrying Joseph Smith and so I was kinda surprised by that. As I read this book because I knew that that was true history, and they included that now they may not a given you all of the details they gave you selective points of these different aspect by the same time. I think that there is a lot in here that a person who would read it if they were trying to convert somebody using this book I would think it would be actually pretty hard to convert somebody with this book because of the things that are permitted as of who Joseph Smith's character was when I first went through this book. I remember having a conversation with you and my comment to you was all I had was this volume of history and I was interested in perhaps joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reading all of the things that Joseph Smith did many of the things that he said would probably turn me off because I don't think this really paints Joseph Smith in quite the same way as let's say the documentary history of the church or even the comprehensive history of the church. It doesn't seem to make him such the heroic figure.

Now I'm sure a lot Latter Day Saints would disagree with me on that.

Because they're going to see the things in the volume that perhaps to them does just that. But I saw a lot of things here that showed me that Joseph Smith, for instance, was an awful judge of character. He did a lot of boneheaded things that you wouldn't think that a person with a certain amount of wisdom would involve himself in, especially if he has a mantle of prophet hood if he is the man who restored Christianity the face of the earth, and he supposed to be a God a man who's endowed with the power of God he does make a lot of poor decisions, especially when it gets into the whole idea of the Kirtland bank, which later became the anti-bank because of some serious legal mistakes that Joseph Smith made in starting that up when the church was headquartered in Kirtland, Ohio, but if you look at the preface of the book it says in here.

What follows is a narrative history designed to give readers a foundational understanding of church history. Every scene, character, and line of dialogue is founded in historical sources which are cited at the end of the book.

I appreciate the fact that they've done that but here folks is where you could really take advantage of the electronic edition.

If you look at the electronic edition there are a lot of links in the history that will take you directly. For instance, to the Joseph Smith papers were you can read for yourself these many of them are handwritten documents that support what's being found in the book. I think that's an advantage because if you're trying to share Mormon history with a Latter Day Saints and you go to their own sources and you hit those links.

It's going to be difficult for the Latter Day Saints to dismiss a lot of those statements when they're found in this book, especially sense as were going to get to in the show. The first presidency has back. This, unlike the gospel topics essays. It started coming out in the end of 2013. Those essays did not have any type of statement with them that showed the first presidency approved was in those essays which caused a lot of confusion among members of the church when they started seeing things in those essays. That's probably shocked them that the church was admitting to. Especially since they had always heard that many of those things were nothing but lies told about the church but this does seem to have the approval of the leadership right up front so it would be difficult for the average Latter Day Saints to dismiss really anything that is found in this volume, it continues in the preface and says this book is the first of a four volume history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and it says together the volumes tell the story of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the earliest days of the church until now they are written in an engaging style that is accessible to the saints throughout the world, but most telling bill is at the end of that preface on page 18 it says this saints is not Scripture but like the Scriptures.

Each volume contains divine truth and stories of imperfect people trying to become saints through the atonement of Jesus Christ. So even though it doesn't reach the category of let's say the standard works. The Bible book of Mormon doctrine and covenants Pearl great price.

It is supposed to contain truth, not just truth but as it says here divine truth. Now why is that important folks will because before you read that preface, there's a message from the first presidency or it says we present saints. The story of the church of Jesus Christ. In the latter days. This is the first volume of a four volume series.

So here is the first presidency presenting this volume so you can assume that the first presidency is giving it its stamp of approval. It probably doesn't matter bell but we don't know who the first presidency is here because this book is written in 2018 and certainly Russell M. Nelson took over the reins of the presidency in the beginning of 2018 yet. Certainly, this book was written during the time of Thomas Monson. I find it interesting because normally when I see the first presidency written down as a signature. Usually you have the three men who are listed there. We don't know who they are the only man we know who would be the same in both the presidencies would be Henry B. Eyring, who under Monson. He was the first counselor in under Nelson second counselor. So were going to begin looking at this volume saints, the standard of truth and what ought to be mentioned at the beginning of the series is that you don't have to have heard the previous shows to be able to understand whatever and talk about on any particular day because were not have to do a huge recap since most of the shows are on individual episodes of the LDS history that don't need the previous shows to help you understand.

Thank you for listening.

If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is looking for a resource that will quickly let you know what Mormon leaders have taught a given topic like the gospel of Jesus Christ, the great apostasy for grace in their own words a collection of Mormon quotations may be the answer. Compiled by Mormonism research ministries Bill McKeever this book has thousands of quotations in an easy-to-read topical format in their own words is available with the Utah lighthouse ministry bookstore on West Temple. Your sniffle online

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