Welcome Ladies and gentlemen. My name is Winston Smith and I will be your guide for this tour. We will be travelling through the department I used to work in at the Ministry of Truth. See that huge white building with the myriad windows? Notice very little light escapes them. That is where we are heading. It is called the Memory Hole Department. The idea is described by Orwell.
“If all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory.”
First example is from the beginning of the restoration when the pneumatic tubes used to send away the altered history was not run with efficient precision that we have today.
Section 8 of the Doctrine and Covenants was a revelation directed to Oliver Cowdery. Originally this direct revelation from God through the Prophet Joseph Smith said this,
“remember this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands.”
Then Sidney Rigdon changed it to read like this,
“remember this is your gift now this is not all for you have another gift which is the gift of working with the rod Behold it has told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this rod to work in your hands.”
Prior to it being put in the 1833 Book of Commandments, Joseph and Oliver changed God’s revelation to this,
Chapter 7:3 “Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God.”
In the Doctrine and Covenants which the Church uses today, it now reads,
D&C 8:6–8 “Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.”
It seems God was embarrassed by the use of a divining rod by early Church members and decided to censor Himself. How many times does it take to get a direct revelation that was voted on by Church members correct? This is supposed to be the mighty Prophet of the Restoration. The most likely explanation is Joseph and the gang were embarrassed and wanted to separate themselves from folklore, so they conveniently censored the revelation figuring they would get away with it.
David Whitmer, one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, talked about Joseph Smith altering and backdating revelations as part of his reason for leaving the Church. He said this,
“Some of the revelations as they now appear in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants have been changed and added to changed and added to. Some of the changes being the greatest importance as the meaning is entirely changed on some very important matters; as if the Lord had changed his mind a few years after he gave the revelations…The revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments correctly. This I know, and will prove it to you.
These revelations were arranged for publication by Brothers Joseph Smith, Sydney Rigdon, Orson Hyde and others, in Hiram, Ohio, while I was there, were sent to Independence to be published, and were printed just exactly as they were arranged by Brother Joseph and the others. And when the Book of Commandments was printed, Joseph and the church received it as being printed correctly.”
(An Address to all Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, page 56)
That is the Truth Department attempting to put things down the memory hole. Let’s look at another example.
The earliest versions of Parley P. Pratt’s Key to the Science of Theology and B. H. Roberts’s The Gospel both talked about an omnipresent, non-personal Holy Ghost, though Pratt’s emphasis was more materialistic than Roberts. At the time, leaders had not agreed upon a concept of what or who the Holy Ghost was, so general authorities expressed wildly different views. Such fluidity of doctrine,characterized the idea that the whole concept of the Godhead was up for debate and did not come from direct revelation straight from the mouth of God. This counters what members are taught today in the Church. In fact it was not a general authority, but a university president who became influential in establishing the current doctrine of the Holy Ghost.
James E. Talmage, President of Latter-day Saints University gave a series of lectures
on the Articles of Faith at LDSU. In the fall of 1898, the First Presidency asked him to rewrite the lectures and present them for approval as Church doctrine. As a result, he reconsidered and reworked the idea of the Holy Ghost.
In response to questions raised by Talmage’s lectures, George Q. Cannon expressed his
opinion that the Holy Ghost was an actual person, in the image of the other members of the Godhead.
In 1894 Talmage published an article in the Juvenile Instructor elaborating on his and Cannon’s ideas on the Holy Ghost. This article became influential and changed the concept of what the Holy Ghost was in the Church. Notice, it was not done by revelation. The problem was these ideas contradicted Parley P. Pratt, an apostle who was a leading theologian in his day. This would not look good if we have men arguing against an early leader so the solution is to send the now disregarded idea down the memory hole.Talmage of course was rewarded for his diligent work by being appointed to the twelve Apostles in 1911.
By January 1915, Charles W. Penrose had completed a revision of Parley P. Pratt’s Key to the Science of Theology. Penrose deleted or altered passages which discussed the
Holy Ghost as nonpersonal and which put forth the idea of a “spiritual fluid,” pervading the universe.
Easy solution to that problem.Here is what Orwell said about it.
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record.”
Anyway, let’s move on with the tour. Next stop is 1832. This is the year we get the only account of the First Vision written in Joseph Smiths handwriting. Six years later when we get the account that everyone knows about. It differs in major points from the earlier version. So different that Joseph Fielding Smith decided to hide the 1832 account. It started when Joseph Fielding was called as Church Historian in 1921. According to Stan Larson, sometime between that year and 1935, the historians office processed the box of Nauvoo records and discovered the 1832 account. Three pages containing the 1832 account were excised from the record and placed in Joseph Fielding Smith’s safe.
Sometime in the 1940’s or 50’s, Joseph Fielding showed the pages to general authority. Levi Young. Amateur historian Lamar Petersen interviewed Levi Young about seeing the papers.He was told it was a “strange account” of the First Vision.
In 1964, Petersen told Gerald and Sandra Tanner about the 1832 account hidden in the safe.They write to Fielding and ask permission to see the account and are turned down. Shortly after that, the pages were returned back to the historians office and taped back into Letterbook 1, where they had originally been pilfered from.
Joseph Fielding then allowed the Assistant Church Historian to show the restored Letterbook 1 to BYU graduate student, Paul R. Cheesman. In 1965 the Tanners were the first to publish the strange 1832 account based on an imperfect transcript of Cheesman’s master thesis on the topic.
Why were the pages torn out and hidden for so long? In the 1832 account, Joseph Smith already knew the Churches were not correct which is a direct contradiction to the later canonized version the Church presents to the world.The 1832 account was all about seeking forgiveness of sin, not about finding the true Church.This version goes against everything taught in the Church today. The third sticking point is Joe only mentions one person who appears to him and not two personages. These differences apparently struck fear in the heart of Joseph Fielding Smith who probably was afraid of the fallout if these pages were to see the light of day. Censorship from the Historians Office.
“If a faith will not bear to be investigated, if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined; their foundation must be very weak.”
Apostle George A. Smith, Journal of Discourses, v. 14, p. 216
Watch your step ladies and gentlemen, we are on to our final stop of the tour.We travel to October 1984, when Ronald E. Poelman gave a talk in General Conference that infuriated big brother.He spoke to members about the difference between the gospel and the Church and in essence said the gospel was more profound and important. Many felt inspired and empowered by his talk and considered it unique in that it gave power to individual members in an organization that historically has put doctrine over self. He said the ultimate goal of each of member was to eventually get to the point in their spiritual and intellectual growth where they no longer would need the institutional Church. Here is how Elder Poelman put it:
“As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”
As the talk proceeded, some or all of the 15 Apostles sitting on the stand knew something had to be done to undo the damage Poelman had done to the Church’s carefully constructed world view of complete obedience to the Church.Their plan involved sending it down the memory hole.
The next month when members picked up the conference issue of The Ensign magazine to read the text of the speech, they were confused to find the words on paper bore little resemblance to the televised talk they thought they remembered the month before. What’s more, anyone seeking the video record of Poelman’s talk found that his talk had been pulled from the official Church archives and replaced with the new version.
The problem started when members who had recorded the original started scratching heads and asking what was going on here.Some months later, in Sunstone editor Peggy Fletcher wrote that “Poelman returned to the Tabernacle a few days after conference and retaped the speech with the changes. This tape was then spliced into the original conference tape replacing the previous address. In addition, a “coughtrack” was provided to make it sound more like an audience was present.” Stack also pointed out “the cost of this video editing was between $10,000 and $15,000.” This is your tithing dollars at work. Remember the widow’s mite?
The Church leaders being the bright fellows they are, knew this could turn into a public relation disaster so they trodded out their spokesman Jerry Cahill to explain what had happened. Guess what reason they came up with in their collective wisdom? Mormon polygamous groups might watch General Conference and see this dangerous talk and think the Church is not important. What? First off, so called Mormon fundamentalists could care less what goes on in General Conference. They have their own leaders who tell them what to do. Second, they are not even members of the Salt Lake City Mormon group. You can not make this stuff up. That is the real reason they gave instead of just admitting they were Big Brother and could not afford to have members think for themselves.
We could continue the tour through numerous examples of censorship in Church history, but you get the idea. Big Brother is Watching!