Censorship in the LDS Church
Censhorship in the LDS Church is not alien to LDS history. One example of early LDS History that is fresh in my mind is the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor. You can find the text of Nauvoo Expositor at this web site:
www.sj-coop.net/~tseng/LDS/expositr.txt [link obsolete]
Now what are the reasons the Nauvoo Expositor was destroyed?
After reading the Nauvoo Exppositor I believe the press and paper were destroyed because they exposed Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy. During Joseph Smith's lifetime he never publicly taught or practiced polygamy. In fact, there are numerous instances where Joseph Smith denied that he or the LDS Church practiced polygamy. References are available at my web site:
Prior to the destruction of the press a Nauvoo Council meeting was conducted. In that meeting the mainly LDS council members voted to declare the Nauvoo Expositor a "nuisance" (History of the Church, vol. 6, pg. 448). Councilor Warrington, the non-LDS council member, disagreed with the vote. He "considered his a peculiar situation, as he did not belong to any church or party. Thought it might be harsh for the Council to declare the paper a nuisance, and proposed giving a few days limitation, and assessing a fine of $3,000 for every libel" (ibid. vol. 6, pg. 445). However, Councilor Warrington's arguments did not prevail, the LDS packed Nauvoo City Council declared the Nauvoo Expositor a nuisance.
The City Council resolved that "the printing-office from whence the issues the Nauvoo Expositor is a public nuisance and also all of said Nuavoo Expositors which may be or exist in said establishment; and the Mayor is instructed to cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in such manner as he shall direct." (ibid. vol. 6, pg. 448)
Joseph Smith took the resolution one step farther in his order to the Marshall of Nauvoo. Joseph Smith ordered the Marshall to "destroy the printing press from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of said printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Expositors and libelous handbills..." (ibid. vol. 6, pg. 448) Note that the City Council resolution gave the Mayor no such authority, only that the "printing establishment and papers to be removed". Joseph made the order even farther beyond the scope of the city resolution by ordering the Marshall that "if resistance be offered to your execution of this order by the owners or other, demolish the house" (ibid. vol. 6, pg. 448)
Joseph Smith was neither given the authority to grant the destruction of the press, pi its type in the street, burn the newspaper, or destroy the printing office if people resisted. However, this did not stop him from doing so!
Why was it a nuisance? What was the libel?
Libel is "a written, printed, or pictorial statement that unjustly damages a person's reputation."
What were the accusations against Joseph Smith that would motivate the destruction of the press?
One of the most scandalous facts brought open was that the paper exposed Joseph Smith's private teachings and practice of polygamy. Joseph could not justly call this libel, this was the TRUTH! He needed (IMO) to resort to any other means necessary to silence those that brought the TRUTH against him.
What I find even more shocking is that the LDS Church continued to claim in its Doctrine and Covenants that "Inasmuch as the Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." This section was printed in every Doctrine and Covenants from 1835 to 1876. In 1876, the LDS Church leaders first inserted section 132, and quitely removed the above statement on marriage.
The hiding of the truth are certain traps to the heart, mind, and soul. In my investigation of Mormonism, I was at first surprised to encounter such censorship. Now I have learned to press on beyond those barriers to find the truth. A truth, in my opinion, the LDS Church does not want you to know.
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