Our last article began a discussion of
the Thirteenth LDS Article of Faith which declares, "We
believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent,
virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may
say that we follow the admonition of PaulóWe believe all
things, we hope all things, we have endured many things,
and we hope to endure all things. If there is
anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or
praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
It should be obvious that honesty and
truth, which are the first two things mentioned in this
Article of Faith, are almost synonymous. One is
not telling the truth if he is not honest and if he is
not honest, he isnít telling the truth. Most
people, including Mormons, try to live honest lives.
But, Mormon leaders havenít always set a good
example when it comes to truth and honesty. For
example, our last article mentioned that Joseph Smith
changed his First Vision story and lied about his
involvement in polygamy.
The current LDS Prophet, Gordon B.
Hinckley, hasnít done much better. When he was
asked by Time Magazine if Mormons believed that
men could become gods, he was evasive at first saying it
was an "ideal" or "a hope for a wishful thing" before he
finally admitted that LDS do believe that doctrine.
When Hinckley was asked if LDS believe
that God the Father was once a man, he said, "I donít
know that we teach it. I donít know that we
emphasize itÖI donít know a lot about it and I
donít think others know a lot about it" (Time,
Aug. 4, 1999, p. 56). Even LDS members questioned
why he gave such answers. Two months later
Hinckley told Mormons at their semi-annual Conference in
October that he really did understand the LDS doctrine
He certainly should know the LDS doctrine
of God quite well since he has written and spoken about
it many times! Achieving a Celestial Marriage
is an LDS Student Manual, copyrighted by the Corporation
of the President of the LDS Church (Hinckley), and it
teaches that God was once a man and that men can become
Gods on pages 129 to 132. Gospel Principles,
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, History
of the Church and many other LDS books also clearly
teach that doctrine. As President and Prophet of
the Mormon Church, Hinckley should defend LDS doctrine
or repudiate it. It was dishonest for him to say
that he didnít know that Mormonism teaches that doctrine
and that he didnít know a lot about it.
Mormon leaders often make unique claims
for their Church. They claim to be the only true
church, the only church with authority (priesthood)
recognized by God, the only church with a living prophet
and so on. Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth LDS
Prophet also wrote, "The most important history
in the world is the history of our Church, and it is the
most accurate history in all the world" (Doctrines
of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 199).
The Mormon Church publishes seven volumes
of its official history entitled History of the
Church which is also called the DHC or the
Documentary History of the Church. The seventh
volume is Period II which covers events after Joseph
Smithís death in 1844 until October 1848 when the LDS
were in the Salt Lake Valley. But the title page
in each of the first six volumes says: "History of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Period I,
History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, by Himself."
That says that Smith wrote the history and the
content is written in the first person which also
implies he wrote it.
But Jerald and Sandra Tanner, who are
noted for their research on Mormonism, point out that
about 60% of the content in the History of the Church
was not completed during Smithís lifetime (Falsification
of Joseph Smithís History, p. 22). Therefore,
Smith couldnít have written many of the things ascribed
to him in the DHC.
Mormon historian, B. H. Roberts, and
those who helped him compile the DHC actually
copied information from other peoplesí journals and put
into the DHC to sound like Joseph Smith wrote it.
Davis Bitton, an LDS historian who worked for the
LDS Church in the historianís office was familiar with
most of the original historical documents of the LDS
Church. He wrote, "When we compare the DHC
with the earlier published versions, in fact, we
discover that hundreds of changes have been made. These
include deletions, additions, and simple changes of
wording" (Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought;
Vol. 3; No. 4; Winter 1968; p. 31). On the next
page Bitton referred to B. H. Roberts and his work on
the DHC and said, "And he would not, I think, be
proud of the fact that for researchers in early Mormon
history Rule Number One is ĎDo not rely on the DHC;
never use a quotation from it without comparing the
earlier versions.í" Does that sound like he
believes it is "the most accurate history in all the
world" as Joseph Fielding Smith claimed it was?
It is a well known fact that the LDS
Church has purchased many old documents and quickly put
them in their archives when the information in them
reflected badly on Mormonism or their leaders. On
the other hand when they receive old document that make
the LDS Church look good, they want it published on the
front pages of the newspapers. Researchers who
have tried to get access to early historical documents
in the LDS archives have usually found it difficult if
It is understandable that the LDS Church
doesnít want old documents handled by too many people
because it would damage them. But with the
technology now available, there is no reason that such
documents canít be copied and made available to
interested people. Instead, the LDS Church
chooses to keep them locked up out of sight. It
is no wonder many accuse them of secrecy and evasion.
Since Mormonism claims to be "the one true church"
and they believe in being "honest and true," why are
they hiding such documents? Real truth has
nothing to fear from investigation.
Those who want more information on this
subject can read Falsification of Joseph Smithís
History, by Jerald & Sandra Tanner, published by
Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P. O. Box 1884, Salt Lake
City, UT 84110. We will continue our discussion
of this Article of Faith next time.