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Melissa569

Unbiased LDS History?

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Well, I continue to search, looking for clues or "proof", but I have to keep telling myself that all that work has been done before me, and it's kind of pointless. It's time better spent on something else.

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This kinda reminds me of the discussion about media bias, we tend to say the guy who's bias is in line with ours is unbiased and the guy who disagrees with us is heavily biased.

This is why I have not even opened that thread. LOL!

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I agree that nothing is without bias.

The 7 volume History of the Church is good. It is biased and has things left out or added in and was only partially written by JS. However, it contains a LOT of interesting things, both historical and doctrinal.

An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, edited by Scott H. Faulring is fantastic. His bias is that Joseph was a true prophet. He did an outstanding job, IMO, of leaving out his personal bias in editing the journals. Plus, the book is way cheaper than the current project.

Hmmm.

I think that reading accounts from members who were close to Joseph is very helpful. I'd go with David Whitmer's "An Address to All Believers in Christ" and The Nauvoo Expositor which was written by William Law (in the First Presidency at the time) and others. These might be still considered "anti" so I won't link to them, but a simple search should allow you to read them online. I think finding accounts from other early leaders who left the church is very helpful to seeing many sides of the picture.

I would also read the 4 accounts of the First Vision.

The original Book of Commandments and compare the changes made in the subsequent printings. I also liked learning when each section was added to the scriptures. I'd read the entire modern D&C, if you haven't.

I'd also read The Article on Marriage that was included in the 1835 edition of the BoC. Oh, the Lectures on Faith that used to be in the D&C are good to read, too. You can find them online from what I think is an RLDS site (if memory serves).

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I would like to do my own research on the history of the LDS faith. I grew up in a baptized but inactive family. So I'm trying to make up my own mind about the church and its founders.

Unfortunately, it seems that all the information sources out there are either provided by people who are trying to prove that all the written accounts are true, or people trying to prove that they're false. And because of that, I feel like I'm not getting a fair and equal view of the facts. This makes me think of a scene from one of my favorite movies ("My Cousin Vinny") about how biased versions of a story can be very confusing and misleading. In the movie, Vinny is a defense attourney, defending his cousin in a murder trial. Vinny pulls out a deck of playing cards, and gives his cousin an example of a case:

"The D.A.‘s gotta build a case. Building a case is like building a house. Each piece of evidence is just another building block. He wants to make a brick bunker of a building. He wants to use serious, solid-looking bricks... He’s gonna show you the bricks. He’ll show you they got straight sides, he’ll show you how they got the right shape, he’ll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have. But there’s one thing he’s not gonna show you-- when you look at the bricks at the right angle, they’re as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion. A magic trick. It has to be an illusion, cause you’re innocent.”

I would like to see ALL angles. So does anybody know of any good historical sources about the LDS faith that are unbiased? As in just facts, not trying to pull you in one direction or the other?

Three sources: Documentary of Church History, Joseph Smith Papers, and The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The most expensive will be the Joseph Smith Papers.

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Melissa,

I would consider mixing it up a bit in your reading. Maybe read a little more controversial book about the church -- leaders -- church history or whatever suites your fancy at that particular time -- and then maybe read something more along the mainstream and maybe compare notes.

I am at the stage of my life the last few years that I like to read something that really gets me to thinking -- some times it's a fun ride and sometimes it's not.

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I would like to do my own research on the history of the LDS faith. I grew up in a baptized but inactive family. So I'm trying to make up my own mind about the church and its founders.

Unfortunately, it seems that all the information sources out there are either provided by people who are trying to prove that all the written accounts are true, or people trying to prove that they're false. And because of that, I feel like I'm not getting a fair and equal view of the facts. This makes me think of a scene from one of my favorite movies ("My Cousin Vinny") about how biased versions of a story can be very confusing and misleading. In the movie, Vinny is a defense attourney, defending his cousin in a murder trial. Vinny pulls out a deck of playing cards, and gives his cousin an example of a case:

"The D.A.‘s gotta build a case. Building a case is like building a house. Each piece of evidence is just another building block. He wants to make a brick bunker of a building. He wants to use serious, solid-looking bricks... He’s gonna show you the bricks. He’ll show you they got straight sides, he’ll show you how they got the right shape, he’ll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have. But there’s one thing he’s not gonna show you-- when you look at the bricks at the right angle, they’re as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion. A magic trick. It has to be an illusion, cause you’re innocent.”

I would like to see ALL angles. So does anybody know of any good historical sources about the LDS faith that are unbiased? As in just facts, not trying to pull you in one direction or the other?

Hi Melissa. I wanted the same thing you are looking for. An unbiased opinion is hard to get but you can get what you're looking for. I wrote down all the subjects I was curious about which, was around 60, and I went through trying to learn everything I could about those subjects. Unfortunately I couldn't get those answers from people who were in the church or those who left so much. In my personal experiences what I found was many of those who left (not all) were very bitter towards the lds church and many in the church (not all) already had their mind made up that it was true. I wanted someone who knew about it but didn't have their mind made up and could look at it from two points of view. I've never honestly found another person I felt fit that description lol. Most people that don't have their mind made up about it know nothing about it.

It can be hard at first to sort opinion from fact. Reading the scriptures can honestly help you find the answers to a lot of questions but if you have questions about the history of the church and want an unbiased answer, I'd suggest looking at multiple sources and comparing them. You get better at telling what is speculation or a person's opinion and ignoring that or seeing if you agree with it. I only wanted the facts so I could come to my own conclusion and that is what I suggest you do. I'm not sure what questions you have but I know a lot of mine I was able to answer by reading the scriptures and ignoring anything that wasn't a fact or accurate evidence from others. I'd also recommend praying and seeing if that helps to find your answers. It's worth a shot. And remember it's ok to just say "I don't know". I hope you get what you're looking for. Good luck.

Here are two sites that use a lot of scriptures to back up what they say. You can see what you think of them.

LDS FAIR Apologetics Homepage

Answers About Mormons and Mormon Belief (LDS FAQ - Latter-day Saints)

I've used a lot of sites though to help me find answers including some from this one.

Edited by Mute

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One place with a mountain of historical documents online, that you can read for yourself, is the site run by Uncle Dale Broadhurst. There you can find such choice items as many of the earliest Church newspapers.

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One place with a mountain of historical documents online, that you can read for yourself, is the site run by Uncle Dale Broadhurst. There you can find such choice items as many of the earliest Church newspapers.

I was just reading some of the 'Crisis at Kirtland' -- good stuff!

Thanks

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I wonder if there will be another time known as 'The New Mormon History' during the Leonard Arrington years when the church archives were opened up. From what little I have been able to read about it, it seems as though the church was flourishing and David O McKay was at his height in popularity and highly respected throughout the church and the world even though in his twilight years during this time.

Years later, the Bretheren with Boyd K. Packer as one of the driving forces (if I remember correctly) put into motion the actions required to shut it down because they felt it was no longer faith promoting.

I wonder if the scholars of that day extracted just the surface or a huge amount of the church's history or maybe somwhere in between.

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Good reference. Uncle Dale used to have that on his website, but you know people and their lawsuits, when the control of historical information is at stake.

Were any of these journals from the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in this collection? I remember reading from the notes of the Mormon Historical Association, how the lady who was the Director of the DUP described tearing pages out of the pioneer journals, under her charge, when she ran across something she thought was embarrassing. Yikes!

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Respectfully, your approach to find out whether the Church is true will be inconclusive and leave you in confusion.

The only way God himself has ordained to obtain a testimony of the Church is by personal revelation. Study is only part of it. You need not study everything. Paul spoke of men who were "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3:7) Men want to make some big ordeal out of learning the truth. They want something they can hang on their wall, or that they can give as a "rational justification" that would satisfy their college professor, their family, etc.

When one is in that position, it is good to ask if you are concerned about what others think more than what God thinks. If you care more about what men think, God won't give you a personal revelation about the truth. When you are ready for people to think of you as a "fool for Christ's sake" (1 Corinthians 4:10). when knowing the truth is more important that men's opinions, you're ready to get your answer.

The Lord has made it easy for every person to obtain a personal testimony of the gospel. All you have to read is one book--The Book of Mormon. You don't even have to read all of it. If your heart is right and you desire to follow the Lord, he will give you a testimony of it. Nothing else will do. Nothing else will satisfy. The Lord told Oliver Cowdery, "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" (D&C 6:23)

Is the testimony of some archaeologist better than a witness from God? Is the testimony of some historian greater than a personal revelation from the Lord? If you esteem their "proof" more than the Holy Ghost, you'll never, ever know it's true.

Please read these words of the apostle John, who was one of Jesus' witnesses as well as one of his best friends. What "proof" did he offer of the reality of Jesus Christ?

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he restored the true Church through Joseph Smith the Prophet. I found this testimony by a personal experience with the Holy Ghost. Though I have studied long and hard over 30-plus years, my testimony came from reading the Book of Mormon and the Spirit's witness that it is true.

Anyone, even a latter-day saint, who tells you there is some other way to find truth is leading you astray. They're stealing your birthright as a child of Heavenly Father. God has your answer--not men.

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Were any of these journals from the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in this collection? I remember reading from the notes of the Mormon Historical Association, how the lady who was the Director of the DUP described tearing pages out of the pioneer journals, under her charge, when she ran across something she thought was embarrassing. Yikes!

I wish...I do collect personal journals of the earlier Saints.

Edited by Hemidakota

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