There are no official sources for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Not a single one.
Living a life filled with honesty is not easy. I’ve always respected and tried to live a life of honesty, even when it cost me. However I have been endlessly surprised by how much even I avoided truth, mainly because I thought I was protecting the real truth. I avoided the truth about the church. I refused to believe any “anti-Mormon” lies. In my mind there was absolutely no chance that the church wasn’t true. Then I found the essays.
The church finally stepped forward with the essays to address all the information – in an attempt to be more open and honest about the history and truth claims. I had many questions surrounding the essays. Why did it take so long for them to tell the truth? Why did the church teach lies to begin with? Why did they excommunicate people for spreading “anti-Mormon” lies, when those lies were actually the truth? What was the sudden change that made them more honest? Was it a desire to be honest, or were they simply cornered?
Having researched laws on fraud I find the timing of the essays interesting. Also, having grown up in a time without a home computer, and watching the information age take hold, it is hard not to acknowledge that there was/ is no way to contain the truth now. Containment has become impossible.
Now the church says that former prophets and apostles made mistakes. One major mistake was the teachings about people of African decent. My Mormon ancestors, my grandparents, my parents, and my teachers all taught me about the curse of Cain. Not because they imagined it, but because it was teachings of the prophets. In the Race and the Priesthood Essay it states that this was because, “The Church was established in 1830, during an era of great racial division in the United States.”
If the church is simply an organization of it’s time, this is not inspired of God. Treating an entire race as less is a pretty significant mistake. This left me wondering how many “mistakes” prophets had made. Reading this essay was just the tip of the iceberg. I also read the DNA essay. Not only did it surprise me, having grown up as a “Lamanite,” but I found the science confusing. So I turned to non-church sources to learn about DNA. The essay makes DNA confusing. I cannot express how important I find it to learn about science from actual scientists, and then read the essay again.
What I realized very quickly is that it did not matter what official sources I used to show mistakes within the church – there were an equal amount of sources showing the opposite. Any argument someone gives may be quickly refuted. So if every single official church source can be refuted by another official church source, are there even any valid ones? How many years will pass before the essays are just another example of the times they were written in?
God’s one true church? The Book of Mormon, “The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on this Earth…” and the Book of Abraham states, “…Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.” The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are in direct opposition with each other when it comes to polygamy. Is God confusing, or just humans? Much longer list, but I will stop there.
I am going to end with one of my current research projects, the Journal of Discourses.
The current official…ish view that the church holds, “The Journal of Discourses is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a compilation of sermons and other materials from the early years of the Church, which were transcribed and then published. It included some doctrinal instruction but also practical teaching, some of which is speculative in nature and some of which is only of historical interest.”
If the Journal of Discourses was at one time held as sacred modern teachings of the prophets and is no longer considered official publication, why is it used in nearly every single lesson manual as an official source for quotes? This leaves me wondering if there is such a thing as an official source.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Race and the Priesthood, Dec. 2013, lds.org, Web. 6 August, 2017.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Pearl of Great Price, 2013 Edition, lds.org, Web. 6 August, 2017.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Topics: Journal of Discourses, lds.org. Web. 6 August, 2017.