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Does the LDS Church Lie to Its Members?

October 21, 2015

Over at Worlds Without End, Brian Whitney discusses whether or not we should say that the LDS church has lied to its members. His post is an analysis of history, and more importantly, of historiography — how has history been studied by the church and its agents?

In particular, Whitney describes a complicated relationship between factions that would support a more “heritage” approach, and those who would support a more academic approach. This “Heritage vs History vs Propaganda” model is expounded upon by Lindsay Hansen Park in her participation on Mormon Matters’ recent episode (which also features Brian Whitney, along with Jon Grimes, Emily Grover, and of course, Dan Wotherspoon.) [I caveat: I still have yet to listen to this episode, so my apologizes if I mis-summarize what Lindsay intended. {Although I must say…this caveat has a great deal of relevance to my thesis for this post.}]

From the Worlds Without End post:

So, what happened? Simply put, the non-professional historians won the narrative contest. The didactic approach to telling history remained favorable to the academically-grounded attempt at objectivity and socially-contextualized history. People don’t like “messy,” and that includes our church leaders who were all raised on the same Seminary and Institute curriculum that promoted the Essentials in Church History approach. Borrowing from Lindsay Hansen Park, as a religion we remained more enamored by our “heritage” than our “history.” Perhaps nothing underscores this better Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was distributed by the church in 1996 to its adult Sunday School classes—a 150-page throwback to Essentials in Church History.

Then the Internet happened.

While the church is, without question, paying the price for promoting an overly-simplified “heritage” approach to history, I don’t think the motive was based in intentional deceptiion; rather, I think the disinclinations towards academic approaches to history were based in sincere love for the church and a desire to protect it. Many, including President Packer, felt that advertising our flaws was tantamount to handing our critics information on a silver platter that they could manipulate against us. I believe that the leaders of the church who were reticent towards candid historical examination were not so because they had some sense that the church was built on lies, but instead because they sincerely believed it to be true; and that they distrusted the historian’s craft that tended to remove the spiritual aspects of the faith that were (and still are) viewed as vital to building and maintaining a testimony. I have no doubt that, in their eyes, they were not suppressors of truth as much as they were being the dutiful watchmen along the tower.

We are paying the price for willful ignorance.

– See more at: http://www.withoutend.org/stop-weve-lied-to-church/#sthash.7E6yykDr.dpuf

I am amenable to the basic idea here: lying implies intentional deception, and there are plausible narratives where that intention is not there.

But I think one can realistically assert another requirement that goes along with and can support or corroborate whether there was intention to deceive. In particular, I don’t think it’s enough to say that a sincere love for the church and a desire to protect it is incompatible with deceptive intent — to put it more bluntly, one’s intention to protect the church absolutely could be one’s deceptive intention.

To say that the church didn’t lie requires a second element: that the church (however you define it) did not recognize one view as truth, yet decide to promulgate a different view despite its awareness and recognition of the first view.

Let me unpack this. The analysis on lying does not just pin on on whether the church, its historians, leaders, whatever were trying to protect the church, but on whether they knew of alternative narratives, and whether they believed in the veracity of those narratives. To frame this in Whitney’s terms, it’s whether they were aware of the messy history, whether they believed the messy history was accurate, and finally, whether they chose the cleaner heritage approach over the messy historical approach because of the heritage’s approach’s friendliness to the church’s history as contrasted to the messy history’s riskiness.

To argue against the church as liar, one should argue one of the following:

  1. That the church wasn’t aware of the messy history (e.g., perhaps there were facts unavailable at the time)
  2. That the church didn’t believe in the veracity of the messy history (e.g., the facts were or are in dispute).
  3. That the church didn’t choose between messy history and clean heritage based on self-preservative considerations.

One doesn’t have to argue all of these, but at least one of these can defeat “lying.” If the church wasn’t aware of the messy history, didn’t believe in the veracity of the messy history, or chose clean heritage over messy history on the merits of the evidences (rather than on the merits of what makes the church look better), then at the church is misinformed at best, and is misinforming its members, but is not lying.

(For a concrete example, let’s use that caveat I put parenthetically at the top of my post. If I get Lindsay’s history vs. heritage vs. propaganda theory “incorrect”, I can say that I may not have done the due diligence to properly research it. Certainly, I can be accused of being *misinformed* on this, and maybe even negligent for not having done my due diligence. But I couldn’t be accused of lying about it, because I never knew enough to be able to lie!)

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24 Comments
  1. Steve Marsh permalink

    There is one other concept: space/relevance.

    For example, few courses of study on the OT address Zipporah. It tends to get cut because on the space/relevance scale it doesn’t fit.

    Z’s daughters, famous blog aside meets the same fate. Complicated story and it just doesn’t fit in.

    Or the story of how the genocides in the Bible didn’t actually happen and were known not to happen. Instead the entire genocide narrative is usually skipped.

    I can think of a lot more examples.

    What was Rahab the Harkot’s profession?

    No one thinks of these in terms of lies.

  2. I think that some people do use things like the genocide narrative to argue that the Bible (and the religions which are based upon it) is immoral, though. So, failing to cover those of stories can hurt down the road too, even if the claim made isn’t about lying usually.

    But I agree that space/relevance can play a role that is not yet accounted for in my model.

  3. Holly permalink

    space/relevance doesn’t address the deceptions people are angriest about.

    Publishing a picture of Joseph Smith poring over the golden plates in order to translate them instead of publishing a picture of him without the plates anywhere near him while he buries his face in a hat so he can look at a stone the church had in its position is not a question of space/relevance. It’s an issue of substituting a false, flattering version of events for the real, embarrassing version.

    And it’s a matter of sending young adults into the world to tell people about the false, flattering version. You can absolve the missionaries of lying. It’s a lot harder to absolve the leaders who fed them a story and instructed them to present it to others as the truth.

  4. Weren’t the leaders of today just the missionaries of yesteryear?

    So, if the missionaries today can be “absolved” of lying (and by this, do you mean that it would be unfair to accuse them of lying in the first place — after all, they were just *misinformed*?), can’t the missionaries of yesteryear also be absolved?

  5. Holly permalink

    Weren’t the leaders of today just the missionaries of yesteryear?

    Well, I was a missionary of yesteryear. I’m not now a leader. But then, I’m a woman. And someone who always cared a lot about accuracy. Both of those things seem to be bars against holding leadership positions in the LDS church.

    Speaking of accuracy, I was under the impression that to become one of the leaders of the church, a man had to be called of God. And having been called of God, that man then received certain gifts of the spirit–like, say, the ability to recognize truth. I would also imagine that someone called of God to lead the church would be privy to information about how the church works that the average 19-year-old Mormon boy wasn’t.

    But if you want to argue that a GA who has passed middle age and claims to speak for God when he issues edicts on how to live is just as ignorant, gullible, inexperienced, and immature as any Mormon teenager who is expected to follow those edicts, well, I am sure there are people who will agree with you.

  6. I think there can be models of spiritual discernment that don’t equate to or involve “magically becoming a trained historian by the power of the Holy Ghost”

    I think it’s more realistic to recognize that someone called of God to lead the church — who mostly has a background in business or law, not history — will not have spent the time or energy poring through source documents. They will not really all that well versed in history because that is not needed to run the church.

    I don’t think this is saying that they are gullible, inexperienced, or immature. Rather, the experiences required for management and leadership or even spiritual guidance (if you want to go that far) are very different experiences than those required for history, academia, etc., Whether you think that’s gullibility is just an indictment of the church as a whole.

  7. Holly permalink

    I don’t think you need special training in history to recognize the difference between depicting an event in the way it really happened and depicting it in a way that didn’t. I think Brian’s whole argument about “history vs. heritage” is a red herring.

    But whether one is a historian, a businessman, a lawyer, or a “spiritual leader,” if one claims to be the business of disseminating truth–and that is what the church and its leaders have claimed–then one needs to have a superior commitment to actually telling it.

    Little kids can figure out when an explanation for an event isn’t satisfactory, which is why at some point they stop believing in Santa Claus–even without any special training in history!

    But we’re not talking about adults letting kids believe in Santa Claus because it’s fun. We’re talking about adult men with a lot of power telling millions of people that they better donate their money to stop gay marriage because they asked God about it, and he doesn’t approve. We’re talking about adult men with a lot of power telling teenagers to spend a big chunk of their life trying to get others to join up because it will them get into heaven. We’re talking about narratives that make it easier to exploit and control people as opposed to narratives that don’t.

    I don’t fault the leaders of the church for being crappy historians. I fault them for crafting an image they found sufficiently flattering, and then valuing that false idol more than they valued the truth. I fault them for expecting others to worship the idol they built. I fault them for telling people to doubt their doubts and believe a narrative that at some point the leaders all knew was false (provided they were still lucid enough to read the essays being prepared for publication). I fault them for publishing bullshit like the days-old essay on Mother in Heaven and thinking it is anything but the same old crap. I fault them for reacting with malice and cruelty to those who showed that the idol was in fact and idol.

  8. Yeah, your comment is just an indictment against religion in general though. I think the thing that’s missing is that for people who have actual spiritual experiences when engaged in their religions, explanations that seem unsatisfactory from a secular perspective are satisfying from a position of faith.

  9. Holly permalink

    Yeah, your comment is just an indictment against religion in general though.

    it’s an indictment against religions that require deception and exploitation as part of their morality, just as some people are violent because their moral codes demand it. http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/people-do-violence-because-their-moral-codes-demand-it/

    I don’t believe that religion is unavoidably like that.

    I had spiritual experiences while engaged in Mormonism. For that matter, I have spiritual experiences still. I left Mormonism because it was unsatisfactory from a perspective that included my need for spirituality and my need for truth.

  10. Holly permalink

    your comment is just an indictment against religion in general though.

    It’s an indictment against religions that require–or at least allow–exploitation and deception of followers by leaders as part of their moral code. I don’t think all religion is unavoidably like that.

    I had spiritual experiences while engaged in Mormonism. In fact, I have spiritual experiences still. I left Mormonism because it was unsatisfactory from both a spiritual and an ethical perspective. I know many people in pretty similar situations.

    So the secular/spiritual divide doesn’t really cut it.

  11. I get leaving from an ethical perspective. I even get leaving from a spiritual perspective. But that doesn’t change that many people become Mormon or stay Mormon because they find spiritual and ethical fulfillment in there.

    As much as I dislike it, a lot of the people who are against gay marriage and whatnot do so because they sincerely believe that same-sex marriage is morally bad. They aren’t doing it just because they are exploited or deceived, but because that is what they sincerely believe and they have strong experiences about that.

  12. Holly permalink

    Sure.

    But Brian Whitney’s piece wasn’t directed to people who stay because they find spiritual and ethical fulfillment in Mormonism. It was written to people who feel they have been deceived by the church in order to inform them why they should not feel that way.

    I am well aware that people can be utterly sincere in their devotion to very dubious propositions and am not quite sure why you would feel the need (sincere or otherwise) to underscore the point. As it is, I have never felt that the sincerity with which a belief is held–that gay marriage is evil, that black people are ethically and intellectually inferior to white people, that women don’t have souls–mitigates the harm it does.

    I tried earlier to provide a link to an essay about the extent to which “people are violent because their moral codes demand it.” The comment disappeared–I figured it was sent to the spam folder–so I wrote it again, without the link or the reference that would have justified its inclusion. But I’ll provide it in a subsequent comment, along with this excerpt here:

    Across practices, across cultures, and throughout historical periods, when people support and engage in violence, their primary motivations are moral. By ‘moral’, I mean that people are violent because they feel they must be; because they feel that their violence is obligatory. They know that they are harming fully human beings. Nonetheless, they believe they should. Violence does not stem from a psychopathic lack of morality. Quite the reverse: it comes from the exercise of perceived moral rights and obligations.

    So, yeah. People sincerely believe the US should shoulder the white man’s burden and invade the Philippines. They sincerely believe they should prevent gays from getting married. They sincerely believe they should invade sovereign nations and take over their oil supplies. They sincerely believe they should destroy the treasures of antiquity.

    How does that sincerity make a real difference?

  13. Holly permalink

    Here’s the link to the article in question.

    http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/people-do-violence-because-their-moral-codes-demand-it/

  14. Holly permalink

    and again the link doesn’t show up.

    Oh well.

    If you’re interested, google this: people are violent because their moral codes demand it.

  15. I remember you posting that one on Facebook! I just fished the comments out of spam queue (it didn’t even send me a notification, so I didn’t know to check.)

    But with respect to this point:

    But Brian Whitney’s piece wasn’t directed to people who stay because they find spiritual and ethical fulfillment in Mormonism. It was written to people who feel they have been deceived by the church in order to inform them why they should not feel that way.

    I am well aware that people can be utterly sincere in their devotion to very dubious propositions and am not quite sure why you would feel the need (sincere or otherwise) to underscore the point.

    I think the connection is that if the leaders are utterly sincere in their devotion to a dubious history, then we can say that they are misinformed, but not that they are lying about it. I use dubious moral principles analogously to commitment to dubious historical narrative here.

    As you noted in a previous comment, if they are misinformed, that is not flattering…but it’s still plausible. And we know at least one case (Hans Mattsson) of someone very high up finding out that what they had always learned was not true…if leaders were all “in on it”, then there wouldn’t ever be that sort of *surprise*.

    This is not to say that misinformation cannot still cause harm. But misinformation is different than lying, based on some of the things I’ve outlined in this article. It’s one thing if the church is promulgating misinformation because the people at top sincerely believe that misinformation and don’t know any better. It’s another thing entirely if they are promulgating misinformation with the full awareness that it’s not true. We definitely know there are some organizations like the latter (e.g., Big Tobacco…but now, there are articles suggesting that Exxon Mobil knew of the impacts of climate change as early as 1981).

    If one truly believes that the church is in an Exxon Mobil or Big Tobacco position, then by all means, say they lie. But I tend to say that a lot of LDS church stuff need not be attributed to malice, since ignorance alone can explain for a lot.

  16. Holly permalink

    Hans Mattsson? Hans Mattsson was not an apostle living in Utah. Hans Mattsson did not read things Mike Quinn published in Dialogue and decide to excommunicate him and ruin his career for making the church look bad. Hans Mattsson was told by the leaders above him that he needed to shut up about his doubts. Hans Mattsson, when he discovered how he had been a party to deception, revealed the deception rather than perpetuating it.

    Hans Mattsson is not a good example for you.

    By the terms you established in your OP, every man who worked to excommunicate Mike Quinn for publishing true but unflattering accounts of church history is a liar.

    the connection is that IF the leaders are utterly sincere in their devotion to a dubious history, then we can say that they are misinformed, but not that they are lying about it.

    That’s a pretty big “if”–especially when you’re talking about the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency. That’s a pretty big “if” when you’re talking about people who counter revelations of unflattering truths by saying, “Some things that are true are not very useful.”

    (And of course someone who fails to realize how unsatisfactory that is as a reply is too stupid to be a spiritual leader. But that’s another matter.)

    So, yeah. Maybe we can’t say that most Area 70s–or bishops, or stake presidents–are lying. Who cares? They’re not really in charge.

    It’s another thing entirely if they are promulgating misinformation with the full awareness that it’s not true.

    In the comments on Brian Whitney’s post, people list examples of apostles doing just that. A golden oldie: When Gordon B. Hinckley pretends to the media that he doesn’t know what Mormons really believe because admitting the truth is embarrassing, we can say that he lied.

  17. Since Q12 and FP come from the same pool of Area 70 (although, definitely more of the homegrown/domestic/Utah variety), I can’t really see them being as all that different. I don’t think any of your Utah apostles are reading source documents. I don’t think any of your Utah apostles are reading Dialogue, Sunstone, etc., To the extent they know about any of these things, these are anti-Mormon screeds to be summarily dismissed.

    I don’t see the people excommunicating Mike Quinn for publishing true, but unflattering accounts of church history. I see them excommunicating Quinn because they think he’s publishing antiMormon material — because they don’t know any better about the facts about the history.

    I think that there definitely are good examples of apostles and other leaders lying. But people typically don’t go to specific examples like that. Maybe I’m misconstruing what people mean when they say the LDS church lies, but generally, I see that narrative as saying that anyone who promulgates the basic LDS story must be lying…which just isn’t necessarily the case, even if the basic LDS narrative is absolutely false.

  18. Holly permalink

    iow, I agree with this point from your OP

    I don’t think it’s enough to say that a sincere love for the church and a desire to protect it is incompatible with deceptive intent — to put it more bluntly, one’s intention to protect the church absolutely could be one’s deceptive intention.

    And insisting on the issue sincerity still adds nothing to this:

    If the church wasn’t aware of the messy history, didn’t believe in the veracity of the messy history, or chose clean heritage over messy history on the merits of the evidences (rather than on the merits of what makes the church look better), then at the church is misinformed at best, and is misinforming its members, but is not lying.

    I think that is a bit of very bad writing in that it posits the church as one entity instead of a group made up of individuals whose degrees of ignorance or knowledge might vary wildly. But leaving that aside, you’ve already stated that “if the church… didn’t believe in the veracity of the messy history, or chose clean heritage over messy history on the merits of the evidences… then at the church is misinformed at best, and is misinforming its members, but is not lying.” It seemed reasonable that when you wrote that being misinformed rather than lying hinged on not believing messy history or rejecting messy history on the evidences, you didn’t mean that “the church” had done this in some calculated, cynical, uh, insincere way.

    But perhaps you did mean that, in which case it was probably a good thing that you stipulated how important sincerity was.

  19. Holly,

    If it is bad writing to posit the church as one entity when talking about when “it” doesn’t lie, shouldn’t it also be bad writing to posit the church as one entity when claiming that “it” does lie?

    I mean, I get it. The reason everyone is talking about “the church” this way to begin with is because “the church” started it. (e.g., claims that “the church is true” and so on. Like, what does that even mean?)

    But I think it really is the case that we are dealing with a group made up of individuals whose degrees of ignorance or knowledge vary wildly. And in that case, I think we can break apart metonymous references to “the church” but recognizing that disparity of ignorance. When I say that misinformation (rather than lying) is plausible, it’s because I think that the more “official” you get when dealing with parties that could be construed as “the church”, the more ignorance you’ll find — I think the Letter to a CES Director is fairly low level criticism, but I recognize it’s low level criticism because CES pushes out low level stuff. If you are raised on CES material, that’s where you will engage. I don’t think CES puts out that low level stuff out of malicious intent; I just think that CES folks aren’t really heavy hitters for a number of institutionally reinforced reasons.

    It seemed reasonable that when you wrote that being misinformed rather than lying hinged on not believing messy history or rejecting messy history on the evidences, you didn’t mean that “the church” had done this in some calculated, cynical, uh, insincere way.

    Again, whether they are calculated, cynical, and insincere, is the entire open question. If you believe they are, then it’s plausible to say they are lying. But I think it’s also reasonable to say that they aren’t doing this in a calculated, cynical, insincere way.

    Even if they are willfully ignorant, putting their fingers in their ears whenever they find uncomfortable narratives, even this may not be a “calculated, cynical, insincere” thing.

    The end result is the same: misinformation gets out. As you note, that causes harm regardless of the intention.

  20. Holly permalink

    Since Q12 and FP come from the same pool of Area 70 (although, definitely more of the homegrown/domestic/Utah variety), I can’t really see them being as all that different.

    Do you really think that every Area 70 knows as much about how the church works as those at the highest level of leadership?

    I don’t think any of your Utah apostles are reading source documents.

    What reason do you have for thinking that? I have it on excellent authority that at least some of them do.

    I don’t think any of your Utah apostles are reading Dialogue, Sunstone, etc.,

    Some of them have.

    I don’t see the people excommunicating Mike Quinn for publishing true, but unflattering accounts of church history. I see them excommunicating Quinn because they think he’s publishing antiMormon material — because they don’t know any better about the facts about the history.

    One of the things Mike Quinn was excommunicated for was an 87-page article in Dialogue (1992) about the racist activities of Ezra Taft Benson and his son in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It was history but not ancient history. It was documented fact.

    Maybe I’m misconstruing what people mean when they say the LDS church lies, but generally, I see that narrative as saying that anyone who promulgates the basic LDS story must be lying…

    I think it is highly likely that you are misconstruing the basic issue. For one thing, as I pointed out, “the church” is one big entity. It does not move entirely in concert. There are larger and smaller parts. Most people who feel deceived by the church make a distinction between what they heard, for example, from family members they knew intimately, and what they heard from GAs they did not know personally.

  21. Holly permalink

    shouldn’t it also be bad writing to posit the church as one entity when claiming that “it” does lie?

    Yes. Which is why I sigh when I see it and try not to do it myself.

    whether they are calculated, cynical, and insincere, is the entire open question.

    It is open because it is essentially unanswerable. And as it is unanswerable, it is irrelevant.

    The end result is the same: misinformation gets out. As you note, that causes harm regardless of the intention.

    yes. That’s why I made that point long ago: because it’s what really matters. The issue of sincerity is irrelevant and discussing it is a waste of time, but as it is your blog, you have the right to waste your time on it as you so choose.

    But I have used up my quota for the day for irrelevant conversations, and will therefore take my leave now.

    Cheers.

  22. Do you really think that every Area 70 knows as much about how the church works as those at the highest level of leadership?

    I do not think the church has ANY formal program of teaching its leaders history. So, I think that your highest leadership knows pretty much as much about the history as even your average bishop or SP. Of course, there will be some bishops or SPs who are independently motivated to read further, so I could see how up the chain, this is true for 70s or GAs, but I do not think that there is institutional selection or value assigned to this knowledge, so I don’t think we should expect to see it at any higher level the higher people go.

    I mean, really, I do not put a whole lot of faith in the institution on this…

    What reason do you have for thinking that? I have it on excellent authority that at least some of them do.

    they do not seem like the academic types. I think they are probably ok-to-good (but not great) business people who want to live their lives practically, and are suspicious of egghead types. (I feel similarly about their legal moves. I don’t think it’s that they know their legal analysis is bad, but promulgate it anyway. I just think they aren’t that great at legal analysis.)

    I think folks like the Givens and the Bushmans, on the other hand, who would have some familiarity with issues and source documents and things like that are on the outside because they aren’t ok-to-good business people who want to live their lives practically, so they don’t get self-selected for higher leadership.

    I mean, if you have it on excellent authority otherwise, then I can’t say anything against that.

    One of the things Mike Quinn was excommunicated for was an 87-page article in Dialogue (1992) about the racist activities of Ezra Taft Benson and his son in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It was history but not ancient history. It was documented fact.

    People dismiss allegations as they happen *all* the time, based on the incongruence with what they think they know about the people the allegations were made on. And again, what they think they know may be incorrect, but it’s not lying for them to go with their gut over the allegation. Even objectively documented fact doesn’t establish that a person believed it was documented fact (the realm of subjectivity).

    I think it is highly likely that you are misconstruing the basic issue. For one thing, as I pointed out, “the church” is one big entity. It does not move entirely in concert. There are larger and smaller parts. Most people who feel deceived by the church make a distinction between what they heard, for example, from family members they knew intimately, and what they heard from GAs they did not know personally.

    I think for the most part that historians with good training (and other people with enough *knowledge* to be *capable* of conscious deception) want to spread truth. These historians tend to have limited progression within the church (or even if they make it to certain leadership positions, they butt heads with those not of that training).

    On the other hand, i think the people with the influence and power to spread misinformation do know better, so they don’t know enough to be said to be lying, for the most part.

    Again, I don’t think this is always and inexorably the case. I think you can come up with situations where people knew better and promulgated falsehood anyway. But I think as a general pattern, the pattern of ignorance over malice is *reasonable*.

    It is open because it is essentially unanswerable. And as it is unanswerable, it is irrelevant.

    I think unanswerable questions often are questions that are answered through faith (or the lack thereof).

    yes. That’s why I made that point long ago: because it’s what really matters. The issue of sincerity is irrelevant and discussing it is a waste of time, but as it is your blog, you have the right to waste your time on it as you so choose.

    But I have used up my quota for the day for irrelevant conversations, and will therefore take my leave now.

    I guess to wind this comment down, then, I would say this: when people say, “the church lies,” that shuts down conversations. It does so for a number of reasons, but one reason it does so is because it signals to the audience that the speaker holds the absolutely *worst* view of the church possible. If someone really wants to stake out that position, fine, but I think that is a very strong position.

    I am interested in institutional failures that result in evil that nevertheless do not require particularly evil people. Because I think it’s one thing to quarantine away from all that overtly evil people…but it’s another thing to recognize the invisible systems that can oppress without requiring anyone individually to be culpable.

  23. To share my opinion on your main question of ‘Does the LDS Church lie to it’s members?’

    I believe ‘the church’, meaning the men at the top, does intentionally lie and deceive it’s members. It may have started out as a sincere desire to protect a church they truly believe in. However, I believe they have since been schooled on true historical facts that they may not have known earlier and now they continue to take steps to discourage people from seeking facts. They spend huge amounts of time and money writing propaganda, producing movies, creating elaborate temple square exhibits and millions of publications all depicting a false notion of what really happened.

    As I read I kept thinking about all of the lies and deceptions by church leadership in order to cover up ‘messy’ things happening in our day. I think of the truckloads of church money poured into legal cases protecting sex offenders. I read the book ‘The Sins of Brother Curtis’ and I was blown away by the intentional manipulation and deception by church leadership. I think of the time and energy that goes into re-writing, or censoring, conference talks when a church leader like Boyd K Packer or Bruce R McConkie say things that are unflattering, mean or senseless. They don’t apologize for these things they just delete them from their official Ensign publication and seem to think that if it is covered up or deleted they have created ‘truth’. I think these are deliberate actions authorized and supported by the top leadership of the church.

    So, simply put, in my opinion they lie. I think it’s their motivation for lying that I cannot speculate on.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always enjoy what you say and how you say it.

  24. WordPress annoys me. For some reason, it’s been putting people who have DEFINITELY commented before in the spam queue. I JUST saw your comment and fished it out, Just Jill.

    I think that if you think the top leaders have been informed on the true historical facts (or that they are independently aware), then I do think it’s fair to say they are lying.

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