Question: Did the Church attempt to hide Brigham Young's practice of plural marriage in the ''Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young'' manual?

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Question: Did the Church attempt to hide Brigham Young's practice of plural marriage in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual?

The manual, which is focused on Brigham Young's teachings rather than his history, was perceived by some to be minimizing or hiding Brigham's otherwise well-known practice of plural marriage

The Historical Summary and Chapter 1 of the Brigham Young manual both mention his marriage to and the death of his first wife, Miriam Works, and his subsequent remarriage to Mary Ann Angel, but they do not discuss his other marriage relationships. The manual, which is focused on Brigham Young's teachings rather than his history (thus the title "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church"), was perceived by some to be minimizing or hiding Brigham's otherwise well-known practice of plural marriage.

The Church added a clarification regarding plural marriage to subsequent manuals that clarified that the manuals were focused on teachings rather than history

The Church clarified this in the next manual that was released, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, which stated:

This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Joseph F. Smith. However, in order to put the teachings in a historical framework, the following list is provided to summarize some of the milestones in his life that have most immediate relationship to his teachings. This summary omits some important events in his personal life, including his marriages (plural marriage was being practiced in the Church at that time) and the births and deaths of his children, to whom he was devoted. [1]

A similar statement appears in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant:

This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Heber J. Grant. The following chronology provides a brief historical framework for these teachings. It omits significant events in secular history, such as wars and worldwide economic crises. It also omits many important events in President Grant’s personal life, such as his marriages and the births and deaths of his children. [2]

And, of course, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith:

This book deals with teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that have application to our day....This book also does not discuss plural marriage. The doctrines and principles relating to plural marriage were revealed to Joseph Smith as early as 1831. The Prophet taught the doctrine of plural marriage, and a number of such marriages were performed during his lifetime.
—The 2008-2009 lesson manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), pages vii–xiii (emphasis added)

Notes

  1. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), viii.
  2. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2002), viii.