“We only have a few minutes to teach about Church history in Sunday school. We can’t deal with everything. We don’t talk about all the issues, but it’s there and it’s not being hidden. Unfortunately we spend more time in video stores, in many cases, than we do reading about our history. But that’s our fault.” – Daniel C. Peterson
Everyone remembers the shouts of opposition made during the sustaining of Church officers in the last general conference, but not everyone knows the reasons given for those objections. The people who gave opposing votes belonged to a group called “Any Opposed?”, and they gathered outside the Conference Center afterwards for a small press conference. Among other concerns, the group’s spokesperson, a middle-aged man from Utah who has been a member all his life, said that after reading some historical essays posted on LDS.org, he realized “that I and all members of the LDS Church have been lied to for decades regarding some pivotal claims of our church and its leadership.”
There are several problems with this statement (like how someone could feel the Church was deceiving him when the issues were brought to his attention by the Church’s own website), but there’s one error that stands above the rest. While it doesn’t usually prompt people to go so far as protesting in general conference, it is a prevalent notion in Mormon culture. The idea is that we can sit back and have all our Church knowledge spoon-fed to us in Sunday school. We think it is the Church’s job to teach us about every historical aspect of Mormonism. This idea is false. It is not the Church’s job to teach us Church history. It is ours.
Austin Wrathall is the writer of the weekly blog Provo Mormon Dude, which examines life in Utah Mormon culture. Austin was born and raised in West Jordan, Utah and is currently attending BYU pursuing a degree in Social Science Teaching. Besides writing, Austin’s favorite pastimes include swimming, playing Angry Birds, and doing anything that involves Star Wars.