“Church history can be so interesting and so inspiring as to be a very powerful tool indeed for building faith. If not properly written or properly taught, it may be a faith destroyer…There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.” ~ LDS leader, Boyd K. Packer, The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect, 1981.
Similar to Oceania -- a future state where an authoritarian political party controls everything and distorts the truth by rewriting history -- the LDS church also rewrites history; only Mormonism is a real organization not a fictional party in a novel. For evidence of this see chapters 2 and 3 of The Changing World of Mormonism. For several links to more evidence of this see the section titled MORMON FALSIFICATION OF MORMON HISTORY at the bottom of this page here.
Also see the message board thread: Smoke and mirrors: Changing Mormon Church history to bolster belief in the truth. Note: I don't support Benson's polemics or use of negative terms to refer to Mormons but I agree with his point in this thread.
The leaders of the Mormon Church also present dishonest information and a false image to the world by promoting false advertising and marketing stratagies which are perpetuated by the uninformed LDS membership. The following brief list of just a few examples is provided with links for more information.
• The LDS church claims Smith saw two Deities in his First Vision, and after this vision he immediately knew and proclaimed that the Father is a personage of tabernacle (flesh and bone). This is false.
• The LDS church presents images of Smith actually reading and translating from the alleged Gold Plates in front of him as if he learned Egyptian and translated it into English. This is false.
• LDS church leaders and apologists are now claiming that the doctrine that “as man is God once was and as God is man may become” isn’t really doctrine. They are also claiming that LDS scriptures and official doctrine don’t teach that man may become a God, but only a god. This is false.
• The LDS church presents to the public the image that Smith was monogamous in their church manuals by omitting his plural marriages; and the church doesn’t correct LDS members who say that polygamy was only practiced to care for the widows. Both are false. Also, see here for evidence that Mormon doctrine holds that the practice of polygamy is a requirement for Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. For more evidence, see my essay Daughters of Zion, Where's Your Pride?
• The LDS church presents the image that Smith abstained from alcohol. Growing up in the church I was told the story of Smith refusing alcohol the doctor offered him to numb his pain during a surgery on his leg in his youth. The idea that Smith didn’t consume alcohol throughout his life all the way up to the day he died is false.
• LDS leaders keep saying they don’t know why blacks were denied the priesthood and that it wasn't doctrine but merely a policy of the church, when in fact on August 17, 1949 the First Presidency of the Mormon Church stated officially:
The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.” President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.” ...
The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes. [end quote].
Source: Neither White nor Black by Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, eds. Appendix: Authoritative Statements on the Status of Blacks.
Missionaries were also told not to proselyte to blacks before 1978 which most LDS members born after 1978 are unaware of. When I was in college I became friends with an African American in one of my classes who was a fellow former Mormon and when I asked if he left because of the racial policy and seed of Cain doctrine he didn’t know about this. He managed to remain an LDS member for over a year without knowing any of this. He had left the church for different reasons but when he found this out he was hurt he wasn’t told these facts upfront.
• The LDS church encourages its members and missionaries to use traditional Protestant language when discussing Mormon theology. For example, instead of referring to the “Gods,” Mormons are encouraged to speak only of God or the Godhead, thus misleading the public and investigators. Missionaries are encouraged to read the Book of Mormon with investigators while avoiding the LDS Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price that speaks of "Gods" plural. When I was a missionary I remember reading The Discourses of Brigham Young and how he, over and over again, referred to the “Gods” plural. At the time this sounded more harmonious to my ears knowing true Mormon theology yet as a missionary I continued to use traditional Protestant language as I was taught and encouraged to do.
• The LDS church does not tell investigators up front that they will be expected to change their underwear habits and put on sacred/secret underwear with supernatural/magical powers that they must wear night and day in order to be considered a worthy Mormon.
• Investigators of Mormonism are not forewarned that they will have to learn secret handshakes and passwords in the temple in order to get into the Mormon heaven. They are also not told that they will eventually be expected to swear several serious oaths in the Mormon temple. Some of these oaths include:
-- Swearing allegiance to Mormonism by pledging with a group of Mormons to "sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God [i.e., the Mormon church]."
-- Swearing to “avoid all … loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed [i.e., the leaders of the Mormon church] …”
-- Swearing with the group "that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth [i.e. the spread of Mormonism] and for the establishment of Zion."
I can’t think of any other religion that withholds as much information from the public and flat out distorts or covers up the true history and facts related to the religion. This is at least the sin of omission by way of covering up and distorting the whole picture.
Missionaries are trained by Mormon authorities to avoid offering Full Disclosure to their investigators (clients). This is on par with a salesperson withholding pertinent information to the buyer.
Instead of offering full-disclosure and pertinent information the LDS church appeals to emotions. I was a missionary in the 90s so I know all about the ways missionaries are trained to appeal to subjective feelings and manipulate the investigator's emotions. For example, we were trained to “identify the spirit,” which meant we’d create an emotional atmosphere with our tone of voice, body language, and personal experiences while discussing the Book of Mormon with our investigators. We were trained to share personal stories and talk in a certain way in order to elicit a reaction (the reaction was called "creating room for the spirit"). After getting them to say they were feeling good after we set the stage, we’d say things like, “that feeling of warmth you feel as we discuss the Book of Mormon is the 'spirit' telling you Mormonism is true.” Thus we’d tie the spiritual experience to the Book of Mormon in order to create an association in their mind between the two. I am not denying that people feel genuine spiritual experiences, but to say these subjective experiences about the Book of Mormon proves all of Mormonism is true is illogical, for there are Book of Mormon believers in Missouri and all around the world who have a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon but reject Utah Mormonism. There are also many Christians who have spiritual experiences that they say proves to them Mormonism is false.
We would rely on the "relationship of trust" we developed with them while doing this. All the while withholding information from them as we were trained, and unknowingly presenting a less than honest picture of Mormon origins to the investigator as we were just doing what we were told as obedient servants of our church.
When the LDS church deceived the public about Smith’s practice of polygamy this mislead converts who joined believing the LDS faith was a monogamous organization, only to find out later it was not. For evidence of this compare the 1835 D&C, section 101, with the introductory statement in today’s D&C 132 where it states: “it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation [polygamy] had been known [and practiced] by the Prophet [Joseph Smith] since 1831…” (words in brackets are my own). This is evidence, in LDS scripture, that while Smith and several LDS members were practicing polygamy the LDS church deceived the public by stating in the 1835 D&C that none of its members were polygamous; for a confusing rationalization by Mormon apologists who appear to say the church unintentionally lied due to internal strife between Cowdery and Smith, and for a detailed response by a former Mormon see the following links:
For further evidence of the LDS church's habits of distorting and covering up its own history see:
> Mormon church manual paints polygamist Young as monogamist
> chapter 13 of The Changing World of Mormonism.
> MORMON LYING By Richard Packham.
> Rip Off Report by Lyndon Lamborn
I also recommend The Mormon Delusion. Volume 4. The Mormon Missionary Lessons - A Conspiracy to Deceive By Jim Whitefield. I haven't read this book yet, but I have read other works by Whitfield and watched him on Youtube and find his historical analysis excellent and accurate.