"...but the church doesn't hide its history. You could have studied this any time you wanted to."
I don't know how many times someone has told me this when I share with them how betrayed I felt when I started studying LDS church history in detail. Besides being a very dismissive comment, it is just not true. The church has carefully crafted its historical narrative. They spend every year out of four in Sunday School discussing church history. It is just that a small subset of the historical knowledge base is emphasized. Is that the same as hiding history? I think so but that is debatable.
But what is not debatable is what I just pulled up on lds.org. The church has been making more and more historical documents available, such as Joseph F. Smith's journals. Good for them for doing this.
But check out these couple of pages (view images 10 and 11 here):
What's with the big black blocks?!?!?!?!?
Well, it turns out that we know roughly what is in that section because a few people have seen it and one of them, D. Michael Quinn, actually transcribed it and that transcript actually resides in his notes today and is publicly known. Basically, the entry makes reference to the fact that in the Council of Fifty meetings in Nauvoo, everyone swore to be subject to a death penalty if they revealed what went on in the meetings. Unflattering stuff for sure, but not as unflattering in my opinion as being caught hiding stuff like this. That is very unbecoming behavior for an organization that claims to have more truth than any other on the earth. This is exactly the kind of behavior that showed me that I cannot trust the church to level with me.
And please, if you are one of those people going around gaslighting those of us who have lost trust in the institution of the LDS church, telling us that the church has always been open with its history, please please stop. Stop right now.
The church is surely getting better at this but it has a ways to go. The Council of Fifty meeting minutes are scheduled to be released next month. But the fact is that they have been hidden up to and past the point of this writing on 8/12/16.
Hopefully they will remove these (and any other) black blocks out of the LDS historical documents that they have published soon.