From 1970-1915, Boyd K. Packer was an Apostle in the Mormon church, serving for 7 years as the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve. During that time, Mormons sustained him as a prophet, seer, and revelator.
Prior to this, he worked in various administrative positions in the Church Education System, which offers seminary (high school) and institute (college) classes.
I want to discuss his 1981 speech, The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect. This speech was given to seminary and institute teachers, admonishing them to omit certain parts of church history that were not faith promoting.
Specifically, he said this:
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.
I want that to sink in for a minute. Here was an educator, telling other educators to censor the institution’s history for the benefit of the institution.
While I can understand the desire to minimize those things that make you look bad, omitting them completely is dishonest.
He goes on to speak of prerequisites, and how important it is for people to have a testimony that the church is true before they are exposed to the facts of history. This is so they can view these facts through the lens of their emotional commitment to the church.
It matters very much not only what we are told but when we are told it. Be careful that you build faith rather than destroy it. President William E. Berrett has told us how grateful he is that a testimony that the past leaders of the Church were prophets of God was firmly fixed in his mind before he was exposed to some of the so-called facts that historians have put in their…