Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 34 No 1, 2
160 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought While the veracity of angelic visitations, apparitions, and miracles is typically difficult to authenticate due to a lack of corroborative evidence, the averred "Transfiguration of Brigham Young" can be scrutinized in detail in newspaper accounts, diaries, official proclamations, retrospective observations, and other exemplification. The official account of post-martyrdom Mormonism was written after the fact by members of the Quorum of the Twelve or their advocates. These men, under Brigham Young's direction, zealously projected their role in history in the most favorable light. Overshadowed by editorial censorship, hundreds of deletions, additions, and alterations were made when the History of Joseph Smith, as it was originally called, was serialized in the Deseret News in the late 1850s. Not only does this history place polygamy and Brigham Young's ecclesiastical significance in the rosy glow of political acceptability, it also does a monumental disservice to Sidney Rigdon and others who challenged the Twelve's ascent to power. The Twelve's nineteenth-century propaganda mill was so adroit that few outside Brigham Young's inner circle were aware of the behind-the-scenes alterations seamlessly stitched into church history. Charles Wesley Wandell, an assistant church historian who later left the church, was aghast at these emendations. Commenting on the many changes made in the historical work as it was being serialized, Wandell noted in his diary: I notice the interpolations because having been employed in the Historian's office at Nauvoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph's death his memoir was "doctored" to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards.3 More than a dozen references to Brigham Young's involvement in transposing the written history may be found in the post-martyrdom record first published in book form in 1902 as History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For example, a 1 April 1845 citation records Young saying: "I commenced revising the History of Joseph Smith at Brother Richard's office: Elder Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith were with me."4 That this revision, or censorship, of the official history came from 3. Inez Smith, "Biography of Charles Wesley Wandell," Journal of History 3 (Jan. 1910): 455-63. 4. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, B. H. Roberts, ed., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1902), 7:389; hereafter HC. For other references regarding revisions, see ibid., 389-90, 408, 411, 414, 427-28, 514, 519, 520, 532, 533, 556.