The LDS Primary Manual Has Serious Errors.

I can no longer remain silent.  

I am a lifelong member of the LDS Church.  I have a three year old granddaughter who is intelligent, inquisitive and perfect.  She represents the future of the LDS Church and this world. She remembers everything.  

In just a few weeks she will be out of nursery and into regular primary classes.  She will be taught out of the lesson manuals. 

Since I was a kid I have read literally hundreds of books and articles about LDS Church History.  I’ve always loved the great stories of brave men and women and the faithful pioneer spirit they exemplify.  

I recently ran into the amazing story of John Moyle.  As I studied his life, I ran into a paragraph about him in the Primary Manual.  Sadly, I also came to realize that his story had been greatly embellished and ultimately this great pioneer’s story has become a myth.  In a book called “Church History”, teaching myths is wrong.  

As I read the other stories found in this Primary Manual I was saddened that there are more than 30 stories that contain errors ranging from minor factual mistakes to total historical falsehoods.    

My goal here is to prevent my three grandchildren and the millions of other Primary Children from learning stories that are embellished or false.  I implore the Church History and Curriculum departments to fix the lesson manuals to include only stories that are true and verifiable.

Teaching myths as fact only serves to weaken those parts of the Mormon History that are true.  

So here we go……

The John Rowe Moyle Story

Lesson #44 Link

Lesson Story Summary:   Every week, John Moyle walked 20 miles from Alpine, Utah to Salt Lake and back to work on the temple.   Following an accident, he had his leg amputated.  Undaunted, he built himself a peg leg and continued to make the 20 mile journey to work on the temple.

draper
Alpine is on the back side of this mountain.

Why it is wrong – The distance from the Moyle house in Alpine is actually 27 miles and over a huge mountain.  For anyone, it would be nearly impossible  to do in a day over rough roads, but when Moyle supposedly had his accident he was 77 years old and there was a railroad line only a few miles away.  Moyle was a great pioneer, but by exaggerating his story, it diminishes his legacy.

116 Pages Article on John Moyle Story

LDS.org Elder Echtdorf talk on John Moyle

Haun’s Creek Massacre

Lesson #34 Link

Lesson Story Summary:  After telling the story of he massacre and saying that Joseph had warned Jacob Haun the lesson says,  “At Hauns’ Mill the brethren went contrary to my counsel; if they had not, their lives would have been spared”.  It gives no further

hauns
Haun’s Creek Massacre

commentary on the reasons why they died.  

Why it is Wrong:  Blaming the 17 victims for their own brutal deaths is horrible here.  There are lots of reasons for the Haun’s Mill Massacre.  The first group to blame is the brutal thugs who committed the crime.  Unfortunately Smith’s quote blames the victims and teaches primary children that Joseph Smith had no responsibility for the brutal killings that took place. 

The reality is that if Joseph warned anyone it was mill owner Haun who was not a member of the church.  The men, women and children who died were moving to Jackson County because they were promised they were moving to Zion. Instead they were moving into a war zone.  They gathered at the mill in desperation, seeking safety.  

It is important to note that Joseph Smith had promised through a revelation from God that Zion would be created in Jackson, County Missouri.  It would be a place of peace.  He also promised that God would fight their battles for them and be by their side.  None of that happened.  

Mormon Historical Studies Article

Revelation on Jackson County

Newspaper Contains Vicious Lies about Joseph Smith

Lesson #37 Link

Story Summary:  The lesson refers to the Nauvoo Expositor that was produce by

expositor
Expositor Press Destroyed

William Law.  It says that the newspaper was filled with “vicious lies” about Joseph Smith.  The lesson gives no details about what those lies were.

Why it is wrong:  The Nauvoo Expositor told the truth.  It told about polygamy, Joseph Smith’s adultery, the Second Anointing, and the women who came to Nauvoo looking for Zion but were essentially forced into marriages.  It uncovered the tightly controlled lies that Joseph had told other members as well as his wife Emma.  William Law had been in Joseph’s inner circle and knew everything.  Joseph had been caught by his own hubris.

LDS Church Essay on Polygamy

Wikipedia Article on Nauvoo Expositor

The 1000 Young Indians and Come, Come Ye Saints

Lesson # 14 Link

Lesson Story Summary:  A group of pioneers led by Brigham Young is camped for the night.  A band of 1000 Young Indian Braves on horses is about to massacre the entire group.  At the last minute the Saints sing, “Come, Come Ye Saints”.  The Indian Chief is moved by the song and the band leaves quietly.

Why it is wrong:  There are multiple problems with this story: 1000 Indians on horses campfirecould not possibly approach a pioneer party without being seen.  Bands of 1000 “young” Indians didn’t ever travel as a secret war party in 1844 and the song Come, Come Ye Saints wasn’t sung in 1847 / 48.  Most importantly, why does the Church History Primary Manual print a 4th or 5th hand version of an unnamed missionary legend as fact?

116 Pages Article on the Story

More detailed version of the story

The Willard Richards’ Prophecy

Lesson #37 Link

Story Summary:  Willard Richards was in the room when Joseph and Hyrum Smith

joseph_smith_martyrdom
Richards hid behind the door

were killed.  John Taylor was very seriously hurt but Willard Richards wasn’t.  The manual teaches that this was a fulfillment of prophecy given early by Joseph Smith that bullets would fly around Richards but he would not be hurt.

Why it is wrong:  There is no evidence that Willard Richards ever told this story in his well documented life.  The journals of Joseph Smith or Willard Richards do not mention the blessing.   The History of the Church published after Richard’s death tells the story but provides no source.  

Another error from the manual is that Richards was hurt, although only slightly.  A bullet grazed his ear.  

116 Pages Article on the Story

Two Different Versions of the Prophecy

Joseph Smith Heals Saint in Nauvoo with Malaria

Lesson #33 Link

Lesson Story Summary:  The lesson talks about how many in Nauvoo got malaria because of the swamps there, even Joseph Smith. It goes on to tell a miraculous story of Joseph Smith healing a man named Elijah Fordham.  Elijah is near death and Joseph comes into the man’s home.  After asking if Fordham if he has faith Smith grabs his hand and he is miraculously healed.    

Why it is wrong:  Although I can’t yet find a contemporary source for this healing, I’m not questioning this part of the story.  My issue is that the lesson fails to mention that between 400 and 600 Saints died of malaria during the few years they were in Nauvoo.  It does not mention that even one person died of malaria.  It seems disingenuous to tell this one story about a healing without telling about how many died. 

Many people have Priesthood Blessings that still die, we need to be careful the message we send children.

LDS.org – A Day of God’s Power

BYU Studies – Article – Deaths in Early Nauvoo

William McLellin Revelation

Lesson #22 Link

Story Summary:  The lesson gives background on D&C Section 67.  It teaches that some

mclellin
McLellin

people were questioning Joseph Smith’s revelations.  William McLellin failed in the challenge to write a revelation from God.  The lesson goes on to say, “William E. McLellin later left the Church. Joseph Smith said that people who criticize the Church and its leaders will eventually apostatize if they do not repent.”

Why it is wrong:  The lesson implies that William McLellin apostatized because of the events mentioned in the story.  The reality is that D&C 67 was written in November of 1831.  McLellin remained faithful for at least another six years including being called as Apostle in 1835. 

WIllaim McLellin was excommunicated in 1838 for opposing Smith.  At the time, Joseph was marrying teenage girls and committing adultery.  1838 Missouri was a war zone.  The mobs were attacking the Mormons and the Mormons were attacking back.  Revelations that Zion would be formed did not transpire.  Oversimplification about why Mormons leave the church is a huge issue in lots of LDS Manuals.

LDS.org Background of Section 67

BYU.edu – Life of Willam McLellin

The Whittling and Whistling Brigade

Lesson #33 Link

Lesson Story Summary:  The lesson tells the story of “young boys” and “children” and how they protected Nauvoo from intruders.  The boys would follow strangers around while whistling and whittling a piece of woods.  Eventually the strangers would leave town.

Why it is wrong:  The lesson uses the words “young boys” and “children”.  The reality is that the brigade were older teens and adults and not children.  The impression the article gives is of primary children, but in reality they were gangs of grown young men.  Think of a high school varsity football team following you around with Bowie knives.  

This type of bullying behavior is a horrible message to give Primary Children.  

BYU.edu – Whittling and Whistling Brigade

The Whittling and Whistling Brigade

Kenyans Buy a Tank from a Neighboring Country to Perform Baptism

Lesson #12 Link

Lesson Story Summary: The lesson tells a story about Kenyans who accept the Gospel and want to be baptized.  Because of their tough circumstances they have no place to perform a baptism.  They have to bring in a tank from “neighboring country”.

Why it is wrong: It’s not a huge error, but still shows the lack of fact checking.  The original story says that they got the water tank from Nairobi, which is not another country it’s the capital of Kenya.  Small error, but still evidence that they needs some fact checking help.  (That’s what I’m here for)

LDS Church in Kenya

Original Story of Early Kenyan Baptisms

Alvin Would Have Received the Gospel

Lesson #23 Summary 

Story summary – Joseph Smith was worried about his brother Alvin who died before the restoration of the Church.  He received a revelation of comfort in 1836.  The lesson explains section 137, by saying, “The Lord explained to Joseph that all people who would have received the gospel, been baptized, and lived righteously if they had been given the opportunity will be able to be in the celestial kingdom”.  

Why it is wrong  – Section 137 that was received in 1836 says, “Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;”  The actual scripture says nothing about being baptized or living righteously.”  

Baptisms for the dead weren’t started for nearly 10 more years.  This isn’t a huge change, but the primary lesson adds the “been baptized, and lived righteously” when it is not anywhere in Section 137.

Doctrine and Covenants Section 137

LDS.org Baptism for the Dead History

 

# 13 – Kenyans Buy a Tank from a Neighboring Country to Perform Baptism

Story Summary:  The lesson tells a story about Kenyans who accept the Gospel and want to be baptized.  Because of their tough circumstances they have no place to perform a baptism.  They have to bring in a tank from “neighboring country”.

Why it is wrong:  It’s not a huge error, but still shows the lack of fact checking.  The original story says that they got the water tank from Nairobi, which is not another country it’s the capital of Kenya.  Small error, but still evidence that they needs some fact checking help.  (That’s what I’m here for)

Second Set of Ten

#11 – The Physical Transfiguration of Brigham Young

Lesson Link:

Story Summary: Following the death of Joseph Smith there were speeches given by those laying claim to Church leadership. Brigham Young, James Strang and Sidney Rigdon all spoke. According to the lesson, as Young spoke, his voice and appearance changed to be as if Joseph himself was speaking.

Why it is wrong: This story is told over and over in Mormon classes as proof that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet and that Brigham Young was his rightful successor. Unfortunately the story is false and all evidence suggested that it was made up in the mid 1850’s as threats from Joseph Smith’s son became a thorn in Brigham Young’s claim on authority. Not a single journal written in the following days mentioned the miracle.

Links and additional details found here

http://www.mormonthink.com/glossary/transfiguration.htm

#12 – Joseph Smith’s Family Supports Him After the First Vision

Lesson Link

Story Summary:  The lesson says the following about the 1820 event.  “After Joseph received his first vision, his family believed him and supported him in the great work he was called to do.”

Why it is wrong:  The problem is that there is no evidence that Joseph told anyone, including his family about the first vision until at least 1838.  In Smith’s account written in the Pearl of Great Price, (Published in 1842) he says that what he said “would attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day”.  

It is surprising that with all that attention not a single newspaper article or journal entry exists about Joseph’s account. Not a single Journal entry from Joseph, a family member or a local preacher mentions a boy who claimed to see God and Jesus. In Joseph 1838 account he says that he should join none of the churches. It makes no mention of starting a new church.

Links and additional details found here

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng

# 13 – Joseph Meets an Angel that Tells Him Not to Buy Wine for Sacrament

Lesson Link

Story Summary:  As Joseph Smith is getting ready to confirm Emma Smith and others, he realizes that he doesn’t have wine for the Sacrament.  While walking to buy wine, he is visited by an angel saying that it’s OK to use water for the ordinance.  

Why it is wrong:  This is one more story told by Joseph Smith without the benefit of any witnesses.  If “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” how does this become a doctrine or a story in the primary manual?  Is Joseph Smith exempt from the two witness rule?  (See also:  first vision, polygamy issues)

# 14 – Hiram Page Receives False Revelations

Lesson Link

Story Summary:  The lesson says that Hiram Page received revelations through a “seer stone”.  He convinced many of the other church leaders that they were real.  It says he could see revelations in the stone, but Joseph and the others convinced him that they were not from God.  Joseph received a revelation saying that only he could get revelations for the entire church.  

Why it is wrong:  By putting the quotes around the word seer stone, it implies something unknown to the children.  What the article fails to mention is that Joseph Smith used a seer stone for most of the Book of Mormon translation and the church is still in possession of the stone used to translate the Book of Mormon.  Unfortunately the stone doesn’t work anymore.

The lesson also make no reference to the source of Page’s revelations. He claimed he really did see words on a seer stone just like Smith. What was their source? Interestingly before this people were open to receive revelations, but once Smith’s authority was challenge he received a new revelation that only his revelations counted.

 #15 Joseph Translates writings about the Prophet Abraham

Lesson Link

Lesson Summary: The lesson quotes, “The writings Joseph Smith translated tell about the ancient prophet Abraham. ….The writings on the scrolls of papyrus tell about Abraham.

Why it is wrong: The LDS Church in their essay on the Book of Abraham clearly admits that there is nothing about Abraham on the papyrus that Joseph translated and that they weren’t written until at least 1000 years after Abraham lived. The church made this admission a few years ago but did not update the Church History Primary Manual.

#16 – Broken Dishes are used to make temple more beautiful.

Story Summary – The lesson says the, “The members of the Church collected broken dishes and glass to be put in the plaster so that the temple would be more beautiful. When the temple was finished, the plaster on the outside of the temple sparkled when the sun shone upon it.”

Why it is wrong:  This harks back to a worse story that was told for many years saying the Saints broke their good china dishes to make the temple more beautiful.  All evidence suggests that broken dishes were found and used to help to strengthen the mortar and stucco, not to make it more beautiful.

 

# 17 Joseph Smith receives a revelation to “march to Missouri and help the Saints there”. 

Lesson Link

Story Summary:  Joseph Smith is living in Kirtland.  He gets word that the saints in Jackson, County Missouri are in real trouble.  They are being threatened, killed and kicked out of the homes. Joseph receives a revelation to form an army to help them.  Zion’s camp is formed.  They march toward Missouri.  Many of he men become sick and 14 die.  Before they arrive in Jackson, County the army breaks up and most go home.  Essentially all the Church leadership is chosen from that group.

Why it is wrong:  The march, call Zion’s Camp is a total failure.  14 people die, everyone suffers and nobody from Missouri is helped. 

The lesson manual manages to blamed everyone for the failures, except Joseph Smith and God.

a. The Missouri Governor is blamed because he didn’t help them.

b. The men are blamed because of their sins and complaints.

c. The weather is blamed, mosquitoes and disease are blamed.

d. The Saints in Missouri are blamed.e. Even God is blamed for changing his mind about redeeming Zion.

The lesson gives no criticism of Joseph Smith.

Although these men have left their families and are willing to head into battle, their are blamed for all their suffering because they are unrighteous.  The mission is a failure and Zion is not saved. The lesson then explains that the real reason for Zion’s Camp was as a great leadership test. That is clearly not what god said in the D&C.

#18 Joseph chased by enemies with guns for 200 miles.

Story Summary:  Joseph left Kirtland for lots of reasons.  Mostly because the Kirtland Bank had failed, he was deeply in dept and many others had lost all their life savings.  There were also warrants out for his arrest.  If anyone was chasing him, it was a posse of men seeking to arrest him for fraudulent financial practices.  It’s also interesting they said that the men chasing had guns, when you can be sure that Joseph Smith also had guns.

#19 Smith Running with 100 pounds of Golden Plates

Myth Summary:  Joseph Smith received revelation through his seer stone that someone was going to steal the Golden Plates.  He took them from this hiding place and carried them three miles through the forest while fighting off men hiding there.

Why it is wrong:  This is another unsubstantiated story based only on the testimony of Joseph Smith.  Gold plates would weigh somewhere between 50 and 200 pounds.  Joseph walked with a limp.  Running three miles like that would be impossible.  It is also strange that in the path through the woods that Joseph chose, he would happen upon three men hiding there in the unlikely chance that he would run by.

Links and additional details found here

#20 600 people died, but many people were healed by fasting and prayer

The lesson talks about how much suffering there was in Winter Quarters.  In the same paragraph is says that 600 people died but it also says that many were healed through fasting.  How does the writers know if anyone was saved through fasting, and what does it imply if some lived and some died?

Newell K. Whitney “Miracle”

Story Summary – The lesson talks about the meeting between Newell K. Whitney and Joseph Smith.  It says, “He extended his hand to a man he had never met before and said, “Newel K. Whitney! Thou art the man!”, and then, “I am Joseph the Prophet. You’ve prayed me here, now what do you want of me?”

Why it’s wrong – The lesson gives the false impression that Joseph was miraculously sent to Kirtland, Ohio to meet Whitney.

The reality is that Joseph was escaping persecution and legal issues in New York and knew that there were several converts in Ohio that he could rely on.  Smith also knew in advance that Newell K. Whitney had joined the church and that he had a store and was successful and influential.  Most likely another member took him to the Whitney store or there was a sign in the front that said Whitney Store.

Links and additional details found here

Ken Sansom was born on April 2, 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA as Frank Kenneth Sansom. He was an actor, known for The Sting (1973), The Tigger Movie (2000) and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988). He was married to Carla. He died on October 8, 2012 in Holladay, Utah.

 

# 20 – Man on a Bus Hears the Articles of Faith

Story Summary – The lesson tells of a man

https://www.lds.org/friend/2011/06/all-because-a-child-knew-the-articles-of-faith?lang=eng

Sharman Hummel story

https://www.mormon.org/me/8pvh

Summary – Willard Richards was in the room when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed.  His ear was grazed by a bullet but was otherwise not hurt.  The manual teaches that this was a fulfillment of prophecy that bullets would fly around him but he would not be hurt.

Why it is wrong – There is no evidence that Willard Richards ever told this story.  It appears in the History of the Church after the death of Richards and Brigham Young may have written it in a talk he never gave.  The lesson manual presents it as fact, when it most likely is not.

Lesson 37 – Joseph goes like a lamb to the slaughter

 

 

Lesson 41 – Crickets and the Seagull story.

Lesson 42. – Jane Allgood and her friend left behind.

Lesson 43 – Handcart story – “Not one in that company left the church”

The story talks about  how a survivor of the hand cart disaster got up and told a class that not one person ever left the church.  That fact is simply not true.  The quoted person may have believed that but the implication is not true.

Lesson 45 – Revelation of Lorenzo Snow

Not lies but horrible Stories –

Lesson 1 – If you accept the First Vision, you accept every other thing Joseph Smith said.

Lesson 6 – Joseph lost 116 pages but its OK because Mormon made an extra copy.

Lesson 17 – Controlling their land way to control members

Photo 1289

Lesson 33 – Family is starving.  Man sells family food with 1 year to pay.

Lesson 33 – Joseph helped a child who got muddy.

Lesson 33 – Wow!  Joseph helped around the house.

Lesson 34 – Scary story about a ghost visiting a girl multiple ties.

Lesson 39 – Man with six kids and no wife called on mission.

Lesson 40 – Saints needed a place without persecution.

Lesson 42 –

Salt Lake Temple foundation fails – 14 years are lost

Lesson 42 – 15 year old girls left by family, saw man.

Lesson 42 – Lydia has 8 kids and husband dies.  Brigham asks her to loan oxen and wagons to somebody.

Lesson 44 – Lesson for 8 year old children talks about not having sex with anyone other than husband or wife.

Lesson 47 – Have the boys in the room stand up.

 

Lesson 17 –

Lesson 19 – David O. McKay teaches the Maori people and they understand his words.

Lesson 19 – Joseph speaks to native people in their own language.

Lesson 20 – Joseph translated writings that tell about Abraham.

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