As you can tell, history is on the top of my mind lately. Orson Pratt and Heber C. Kimball (2 of the original 12 apostles under Joseph Smith), and one of Joseph Smith's wives are great-great-great-great grandparents of mine so for me it's personal. For me Church History is also Family History, and I feel I have an obligation to learn as much as I can. The funny thing is, the more I learn, the more I realize we still don't know a lot!
I posted this in a conversation earlier today. It was in response to a great article by McKay Coppins on Buzz Feed. Some were disagreeing that accurate LDS Church history needs to be taught more in Church, but instead should focus on the Savior and the Priesthood, as my previous article yesterday stated. The thing is, the two aren't mutually exclusive! Here was my response, and I wanted to record it for posterity:
"I've been thinking a lot about this today, and, to respond to some of those saying this (history) shouldn't be taught (in Sunday School), I think really we should stop being afraid of our history. Our history is filled with the message of the savior. It is filled with messages of the atonement, the imperfections of the saints, and how the Savior still played a central role in it all. Our history teaches that keys to the Priesthood are critical in who leads this Church. We have a beautiful history filled with the Savior and keys to the Priesthood that this Church holds, and even topics like polygamy (which we still believe in, after death BTW) teach us that.
I think the mistake we keep falling into is we think our history has taken out the Savior and a focus on the keys that our Church holds, when in reality it's our present that has done so. I think we should embrace our history, teach it from the housetops, and in turn, they'll learn what we, as Saints, truly believe. I'm really worried that because many have lost our history, we've also lost who we really are."
You name one problem in the Church's history, and I can tell you how the role of the Savior, and the keys of the Priesthood play a role in it. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints preaches this, as the same Church that existed in primitive times. Why can't we be the same church that existed in Joseph Smith's times? The thing is we are - the scriptures haven't changed - many of our members have just forgotten about it.