Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Historical Suppression in the Church

Table of Contents

Response to Author's Preface, "About Mormon History: Historical Suppression in the Church"

A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims


One Nation under Gods, page xv (hardback)

The history of Mormonism — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)— can only be pieced together using a wide variety of historical sources. It is a complex tale that takes many surprising turns, has numerous divergent paths, and often becomes intertwined with other historical events of the same time period. Unfortunately, some of the least reliable reports on Mormon history, especially with regard to its earliest years, are those that have been produced by the LDS church.2

One Nation under Gods, page ix (paperback)

The history of Mormonism—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)—can only be pieced together using a wide variety of historical sources. It is a complex tale that takes many surprising turns, has numerous divergent paths, and often becomes intertwined with other historical events of the same time period. Unfortunately, some of the least reliable reports on Mormon history, especially with regard to its earliest years, are those that have been produced by the LDS church. Mormon leaders, especially since the 1970s, have repeatedly called for LDS historians to "tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting."2 (emphasis added)

Author's Sources


Endnote 2, page 477 (hardback)

2. Mormon church officials have routinely insisted that any materials written on LDS history by Mormons must be "faith promoting," which means they must support Mormon beliefs and official teachings, even at the risk of being historically inaccurate. In 1981, for instance, LDS apostle Boyd K. Packer warned Mormon historians against publishing objective history, even in professional journals because such works destroy and weaken the faith of Mormons (Boyd K. Packer, "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect," BYU Studies [Summer 1981], vol. 21, 264-265). Eventually, in June 1986, the staff of the LDS church's historical department were made to "sign a form which Elder Packer declared gave the right of pre-publication censorship for any archival research completed before signing the form" (Smith, 109, footnote #52; quoted in Tanner and Tanner, 3, http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no85.htm).

Endnote 2, page 475 (paperback)

2. Boyd K. Packer, interview with D. Michael Quinn, 1976. Quoted in Smith, 105, endnote #22. In recent years LDS church officials have stipulated that LDS-written history must be "faith promoting," which means supportive of LDS beliefs and teachings, even if historically incomplete. In 1981, for example, LDS apostle Packer warned Mormon historians against publishing overly objective history, even in professional journals, because it could destroy and weaken the faith of Mormons (Boyd K. Packer, "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect," BYU Studies [Summer 1981], vol. 21, 264-265). In June 1986 members of the LDS church's historical department were made to "sign a form which Elder Packer declared gave the right of pre-publication censorship for any archival research completed before signing the form" (Smith, 109, footnote #52; quoted in Tanner and Tanner, 3, http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no85.htm).


Histories written by Mormon historians

Jump to Subtopic: