Minimization, Distortion, Deception and Spin in the LDS Church History Gospel Topics Essays

Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Jason Harris

The LDS “Gospel Topics Essays.” are official LDS responses approved by the First Presidency and LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to many difficult and controversial historical, doctrinal and textual issues. Examples include troublesome issues regarding the LDS Book of Abraham, Native American DNA and the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith’s treasure seeking activities, and Joseph Smith’s polyandry (e.g. issuing calls to men to leave on missions and then marrying their wives while they were gone).

In August 2018, a friend, Anthony D. Miller, MBA, MSFS, CFP®, invited me to publish on his site what I had previously written in regards to what I perceive as minimization, distortion, deception and spin in the official LDS “Gospel Topics Essays.” Much of what used to be commonly believed as “anti-Mormon lies” are acknowledged as true in many of these essays. Yet as I read these essays and studied the footnotes in depth, it seemed crystal clear to me that these essays are still often not about being completely honest and forthright. Rather, they often seem to be more about damage control due to recent availability of information on the internet, with the minimum amount of disclosure possible. Coming to this conclusion was incredibly heart-breaking.

Here is the link to that post:

A Closer Look at the LDS Church History Gospel Topics Essays (guest post)

Church History Topics

In addition to the LDS Gospel Topics Essays, the “Church History Topics” page warrants mention as well. This is an official LDS page with a brief discussion of many controversial LDS Church History Topics. Examples include the Counsel of 50, the Danites, the Kinderhook plates, Masonry, etc. Notable topic omissions as of this writing include discussion of the “Adam-God” doctrine and “Blood-Atonement” (as taught by Brigham Young.) That said, “Blood-Atonement” IS very briefly mentioned in the “Peace and Violence…” LDS Gospel Topics essay.

As of December 2019, the “Church History Topics” page and many of these topic summaries are difficult to find using the internal search engine of the LDS site. In addition, at present the landing page for these topics takes one straight to the “Adam-ondi-Ahman” topic. To access the many other topics: Look to the left side bar on a desktop/laptop or press the very small textbook icon in the upper left on a mobile device. As with the LDS “Gospel Topics Essays,” researching these topics in more depth can leave one with a sense the LDS Church is being less than forthcoming.

Jason Harris lived as an orthodox Mormon for forty years. He writes about his experiences leaving the Mormon Church and reconstructing a new World-View. He believes all religions and scripture are man-made, potentially helpful and harmful. He believes there is Divinity in all of them and everywhere.