What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

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Ilovechrist77
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What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 22 Jan 2019, 03:30

Hello, everyone. It's been awhile since I've posted away, but I'm still lurking online. I read the new book the church published called Saints. It was a lot better than I thought. It was great! However, I have some problems with the book. I love that the church is being more honest and open about its actual history, about Joseph Smith and his polygamy and use of the seer stone, but they didn't give any reason why Joseph was tarred and feathered. Even though they made Smith seem more human than most of the church history I've read from the past, it still seemed like he could do no wrong when he preached doctrine or prophesies. And the last thing, it's always about the institution, whether people become members of it on earth or in the spirit world. Sigh. Other than than, I enjoyed it a lot. What did all of you think of it?

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LookingHard
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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by LookingHard » 22 Jan 2019, 05:56

I would agree that they are opening up on some historical items, but it feels to me to be a bit like the essays - giving up ground that they have already lost. As in they are finally admitting some of the troubling issues that just about every historian agrees upon. I struggle when I hear it as "the church coming clean" as in it shows all the issues. It certainly does not. Better, but still not what I would call, "coming clean". There are people cataloging where the whitewashing is occurring (I think it is ldsdiscussion or something like that).

So I struggle between giving the church some praise for much more honesty and feeling like it is the same as it has always been with the line moved over a bit. That same feeling when you listen to the Renlund's fireside and then Uchtdorf's talk a few days later.

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dande48
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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by dande48 » 22 Jan 2019, 09:28

They are attempting to frame current knowledge with their past world view. As the Church does, when faced with being "wrong", they've turned it into "well, technically we were right all along". Hence, the curse of Ham goes from being "black skin is a mark of God's disfavor" to "it's all symbolic. No really, your skin is beautiful. Joseph Smith liked blacks! They martyred him for liking blacks!".

It's to be expected. As the Church changes, its history changes. As its history becomes incongruent with common history, it must realign its own history.
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Always Thinking
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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by Always Thinking » 22 Jan 2019, 19:19

I think they did a good job making it into an interesting story, and I was glad to see them admitting to some things about the past. As you and others have said though, it was not as forthcoming as I was hoping. I didn't like how much they put Joseph on a pedestal. They seem like they want to show "he's a man just like any other man" but they aren't willing to show just how human he was. They want to make sure he still seems "saintly". I think this is a good book for members who want to learn more about church history in a way that is fun to read, but not in a way that challenges their faith too much. It's definitely not a book for people who already know the difficult parts of church history and want a completely honest history. I did NOT like the parts where I could see them blatantly avoiding certain parts of history that were uncomfortable. They completely avoided talking about Joseph marrying his foster daughters (Sarah and Maria Lawrence). They also completely avoided him marrying Helen Mar Kimball. They also heavily white-washed Emily Partridge's story of how Joseph proposed to her. if you read her story in Saints, then read the source they give for it, completely different versions. One makes it sound like she was hesitant at first and then was a willing participant and was fully ready for polygamy. The other sounds like she was a scared girl who didn't want to get married to him and even tried to run away from the proposal but was chased and eventually submitted after a ton of pressure from men with authority over her. Bothered me a lot, as her story was one that struck me the most in learning about polygamy, so I hated how they changed it to make her seem like she was completely ready and willing to practice polygamy.

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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Jan 2019, 13:15

This post has 25 responses. You might want to read it, as well.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9119
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by SamBee » 23 Jan 2019, 13:21

I take a positive view of it. It's written in such a way to be easy to read, but not quite the Gospel Principles manual. It is a lot more open with history than previous versions and while there is a long way to go, it is a step in the right direction.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by Roy » 24 Jan 2019, 10:07

The following is a comparison of the Emily Partridge experience from her own words and from Saints. It comes from the earlier thread on Saints that Curt linked.
Her version:
After a year in the Smith home, Emily Partridge remembers: “...in the spring of 1842...Joseph said to me one day, ‘Emily, if you will not betray me, I will tell you something for your benefit.’ Of course I would keep his secret...he asked me if I would burn it if he would write me a letter. I began to think that was not the proper thing for me to do and I was about as miserable as I ever would wish to be...I went to my room and knelt down and asked my father in heaven to direct me...[At Joseph’s insistence] I could not speak to any one on earth...I received no comfort till I went back...to say I could not take a private letter from him. He asked me if I wished the matter ended. I said I did.” Emily recalls, “he said no more to me [for many months].”

Soon after Emily refused Joseph’s letter, Elizabeth Durfee, who had married Joseph the previous year, invited Emily and Eliza to her home. Emily recalls being tested, “She introduced the subject of spiritual wives as they called it in that day. She wondered if there was any truth in the report she heard. I thought I could tell her something that would make her open her eyes if I chose, but I did not choose to. I kept my own council and said nothing.” Emily later learned “that Mrs. Durfee was a friend to plurality and knew all about it.” On their walk home from Mrs. Durfee’s, Emily raised courage enough to mention Joseph’s offer to her sister: “[Eliza] felt very bad indeed for a short time, but it served to prepare her to receive the principles that were revealed soon after.”

Joseph approached Emily again on February 28, 1843, her nineteenth birthday. Emily said, “He taught me this principle of plural marriage...but we called it celestial marriage, and he told me that this principle had been revealed to him but it was not generally known.” A week later, “Mrs. Durf[ee] came to me...and said Joseph would like an opportunity to talk with me...I was to meet him in the evening at Mr. [Heber C.] Kimballs.” Not wanting to incur any suspicion, Emily didn’t change from the dress she had been working in that day. “When I got there nobody was at home but [the Kimball children] William and Hellen Kimball...I did not wait long before Br. Kimball and Joseph came in.” Emily recalls that Heber and Joseph sent the Kimball children to a neighbor’s home, and pretended to send Emily away as well: “I started for home as fast as I could so as to get beyond being called back, for I still dreaded the interview. Soon I heard Br. Kimball call, ‘Emily, Emily’ rather low but loud enough for me to hear. I thought at first I would not go back and took no notice of his calling. But he kept calling and was about to overtake me so I stopped and went back with him.”

Back at the Kimball home, Joseph spoke to Emily: “I cannot tell all Joseph said, but he said the Lord had commanded [him] to enter into plural marriage and had given me to him and although I had got badly frightened he knew I would yet have him...Well I was married there and then. Joseph went home his way and I going my way alone. A strange way of getting married wasn’t it?”

Here is the version in the Saint's book:

For more than two years, she and her older sister Eliza had been living ​and working with the Smiths, not far from where their mother lived with her new husband.5

Emily belonged to the Relief Society and talked often with the women around her. Occasionally she would hear whispers about plural marriage. More than thirty Saints had quietly embraced the practice, including two of her stepsisters and one of her stepbrothers. Emily herself knew nothing about it firsthand.6

A year earlier, however, Joseph had mentioned that he had something to tell her. He had offered to write it in a letter, but she asked him not to do so, worried that it might say something about plural marriage. Afterward, she had regretted her decision and told her sister about the conversation, sharing what little she knew about the practice. Eliza appeared upset, so Emily said nothing more.7

With no one to confide in, Emily felt like she was struggling alone in deep water. She turned to the Lord and prayed to know what to do, and after some months, she received divine confirmation that she should listen to what Joseph had to say to her—even if it had to do with plural marriage.8

On March 4, a few days after her nineteenth birthday, Joseph asked to speak with Emily at the home of Heber Kimball. She set out as soon as she finished work, her mind ready to receive the principle of plural marriage. As expected, Joseph taught it to her and asked if she would be sealed to him. She agreed, and Heber performed the ordinance.9
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 25 Jan 2019, 21:39

Thanks, Curt, for the reference to the previous thread. I forgot all about it. And, Roy, thanks for sharing with me the two accounts of Emily Partridge's plural marriage to Joseph Smith. I could see the difference in both. Thanks, everyone, for the comments. I'm finally reading No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie. So far, it's been a great book. If I would have read that book during my time as a traditional-believing member, I would have been shocked to find out those things about Joseph Smith. In fact, when I was in my twenties, I was shocked to hear about there being one than more version of the First Version from my wonderful institute teacher, who was well versed in church history.

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SamBee
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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by SamBee » 26 Jan 2019, 09:09

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 21:39
Thanks, Curt, for the reference to the previous thread. I forgot all about it. And, Roy, thanks for sharing with me the two accounts of Emily Partridge's plural marriage to Joseph Smith. I could see the difference in both. Thanks, everyone, for the comments. I'm finally reading No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie. So far, it's been a great book. If I would have read that book during my time as a traditional-believing member, I would have been shocked to find out those things about Joseph Smith. In fact, when I was in my twenties, I was shocked to hear about there being one than more version of the First Version from my wonderful institute teacher, who was well versed in church history.
Bear in mind, NMKMH is a bit out of date now. In addition to differences of opinion more recent research has superseded some of the information (please don't ask for specifics, I can't remember off hand).

In Fawn Brodie's defense though, I seem to recall her writing style is pretty good.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: What Does Everyone Here Think of The New Church History Book Called Saints

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 26 Jan 2019, 20:39

SamBee, you're probably right about that. Bill Reel, before he was excommunicated, said he read that book.

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