Why is the church so reluctant to allow members information regarding the formation of the church? The plural wives of early leaders, the way the translation of the plates was done. It would seem to me that God is going to be pretty busy answering a lot of questions, as I cannot see our present day leaders being forthcoming.
As always my thanks to the team.
To many, these topics are hot button items only because they make it so. There is no secret. I’m not sure where you got that impression. Nearly every adult member (and many younger ones) of the Church that I know is aware of these topics as part of our history, and it doesn’t seem to change anything. Many anti-Mormons seem to believe that we are not aware of our own history. Well, let’s just say they’ve had limited exposure to how knowledgeable the Saints really are about their own faith.
The reason the Church and its leaders don’t spend a large amount of time on these topics is that it usually doesn’t fulfill the mission of the Church. While plural marriage and the method of translation are historical realities and possibly curiosities, how does teaching them in Sunday School satisfy any of the missions of the Church? We certainly hear inspiring stories from that time. Such stories build our spiritual relationship with the Lord and therefore fulfill the missions of the Church. And we hear such stories from time to time in general conference as well as in our Sunday meetings. But to spend as much time and depth as you seem to be suggesting would take away valuable time from fulfilling the missions of the Church.
What mission is served by spending time in our yearly lessons on how many wives any individual had over 100 years ago? What mission is served by looking at the actual process of translation? The fact that it was “By the Gift and Power of God” is infinitely more important than whether he used the urim and thummim or the seer stone or a Reformed Egyptian-to-English dictionary. And it is not the Church’s responsibility to put to rest every single anti-Mormon tract and claim. Can you imagine the time and effort required? Is that how the Lord would want us to spend the tithes of His Church? Is it of any spiritual benefit of the membership as a whole?
If you wish to study such on your own, you’re more than welcome to. And there is nothing that the Church is doing to stand in your way. In fact, most of what we do know (and what anti-Mormons know) came from sources that were released by the Church. There really wouldn’t be much in the way of anti-Mormon literature if you removed all the resources that the Church itself has provided.
The Church-owned publisher Bookcraft has a plethora of wonderfully informative publications that would satisfy your curiosity and will probably be a major source of great material to help in such studies. And you yourself may just find some of those inspiring stories to share with others. If so, kudos to you. Just remember that it is not the mission of the Church to have formal annual lessons that teach the entire history in a minute-by-minute play-by-play. The Church isn’t “hiding” anything. We just don’t have the time, and it is simply not that important.
It is much more important that the work of the Church continue. It is more important to work on perfecting the saints. It is infinitely more important to serve God by serving our fellow men. It is more important to do our genealogy and temple work for our ancestors. It is more important to learn how to obtain a testimony by witness of the Holy Ghost. It is much more important to teach all the world that Jesus is the Christ and that He speaks to prophets in this dispensation just as he has in dispensations past. It is much more important to preach repentance to all the world and baptize every soul. These efforts are what the Lord wants His servants to spend their time on.