Sep 15 2019
Church Historian, Elder Steven E. Snow, was interviewed by BYU’s Religious Educator program about the Church’s recent increasing openness with regard to history. He stated, “My view is that being open about our history solves a whole lot more problems than it creates. We might not have all the answers, but if we are open – and we now have pretty remarkable transparency – then I think in the long run that will serve us well. I think in the past there was a tendency to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation—with the access to information on the Internet, we can’t continue that pattern; I think we need to continue to be more open.” Steven E. Snow – Start With Faith: A Conversation with Elder Steven E.Snow, Religious Educator 14, no.3 What pattern can’t they continue? During an interview with BYU Professor of History, D Michael Quinn, Elder Boyd K. Packer stated, “I have a hard time with historians because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting; it destroys…Historians should tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting.” Boyd K. Packer – D. Michael Quinn, Pillars of My Faith, Symposium, Salt Lake City, August 19, 1994 Elder Packer counsels that not all truth should be shared, but what determines which should be shared and which should be censored? At what point do partial truths become lies? Elder Packer’s caution and Elder Snow’s reveal shows that the brethren have regularly suppressed information about the Church’s troublesome history. Yet now they see the need to finally be truthful due to the Internet’s free flow of information. I feel that a true church should not have a troublesome past to hide and be open to full disclosure if there is any. Let’s take a closer look at what Elder Snow says have been kept closed all these years.