In the October 2006 General Conference of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a talk in which he said it was incumbent
upon members of the church to “willingly defend the history of the church.” See here.
In the version he gave at General Conference, he also said that “[w]e need not apologize for the church or its history.” There is no statement on the official church web site as to why that remark was edited out of the printed version. Is it an implicit retraction? Who knows. Either way, faithful Mormons now have a new commandment from a man they sustain as a “prophet, seer, and revelator.”
Recently, a fellow calling himself “john f.” posted this comment on a popular Bloggernacle site: “Re George who wrote about the shock of learning that the church’s history is not the pretty picture that was presented to me, it’s probably worth noting for the benefit of posterity and google searchers, if for nothing else, that many Latter-day Saints believe that the church’s history is not not the pretty picture that was presented to [us]. To the contrary, it is a very beautiful picture indeed.”
So it is not just overzealous octogenarians who fail to see problems with church history. Young, Internet-savvy members of the church appear willing to take up the charge set forth by President Packer and defend what they see as a “very beautiful picture.” So, I extend here an open invitation to Latter-day Saints everywhere to use this post to do your duty and follow your file leader. I offer the following topics from church history for you to defend church history as you have been commanded to do (it is not clear whether or not you are also supposed to avoid apologizing for any of these things):
1. The Mountain Meadows Massacre.
3. Joseph Smith’s Polyandry (marrying a woman already married to another man).
4. Polygamy with teen girls.
5. The Danites.
6. Blood atonement.
13. The Book of Abraham Fraud
Well, that’s a fair start. What think ye, my faithful Mormon readers? Is President Packer correct that you have nothing to apologize for? Are you willing to take up the cause and willingly defend the 14 issues cited above? And if you don’t defend the church history, are you sustaining the Brethren? These are not rhetorical questions. I’d really like to know.