When I lived in Las Vegas I was the Ward Mission Leader. I had this great idea to go around to the members and do interview with them about why they joined the LDS Church. Since my introduction to a more complete history of the LDS Church I have wanted to do the same thing (although now I’m not in a position to do it), except this time I would like to know how much of the controversial aspects of LDS history members know. The quiz would include several of the questions below.
1.) Who was the first prophet to live polygamy?
2.) How many wives did he have?
3.) Have any prophets lived polyandry?
4.) Have any past prophets or leaders repeatedly made racist statements without being removed?
5.) Is it doctrine of the LDS Church that blacks today are descendents of Cain or Ham?
6.) Is it doctrine of the LDS Church that blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence?
7.) Why do some Christian Churches refer to Mormons as a cult?
8.) Is it doctrine of the LDS Church that evolution is wrong?
9.) Is the account of the first vision given in the Pearl of Great Price the first account Joseph Smith gave?
10.) What is the Mountain Meadows Massacre?
11.) Is caffeine the reason why Mormons don’t drink coffee and tea?
12.) Should LDS members always obey their leaders?
13.) How did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon?
14.) Were all the papyri Joseph Smith translated destroyed in the Chicago fire?
15.) Do Egyptologists agree with Joseph Smith’s translations of the Egyptian papyri, that we know as the Pearl of Great Price?
16.) Is the history of the LDS Church that we learn in church and Institute classes a representative account of what happened?
17.) Have you ever heard of the Spalding manuscript?
18.) Did Joseph Smith ever get paid to look for treasure by using a peep stone?
19.) Do you think a Prophet is infallible? Can he make mistakes in what he states and in his personal life?
I’m sure there are other questions that I would like to ask. I would be very curious to see if LDS members knew the answers to these questions and if so what percentage. My guess is that a few will have heard of some of them, but will be unaware of any details. I tried to make the questions as non-leading as possible. Thus I asked, “Who was the first prophet to live polygamy?” instead of “Did Joseph Smith live polygamy?”. I think that as latter-day saints we should know more about our history than non-LDS Christians. What other questions should be added? Did you know the answers (answer this especially if you are an active LDS member)?
1.) Joseph Smith
2.) Some where between 20-33
3.) Yes, Joseph Smith did.
4.) Yes, there are several Apostles and Prophets especially in the 19th century church. The most notable was Brigham Young.
5.) No, this was never doctrine of the Church. In my opinion it was based on racist ideology brought from other protestant traditions of the time and applied to the priesthood in the LDS Church.
6.) No, although many members still believe this. If you do some research you find it was never doctrine.
7.) LDS beliefs vary dramatically from orthodox Christian teachings. The LDS rejection of the Trinity is one of the main reasons some Christian churches refer to Mormons as a cult.
8.) See answer 6
9.) No, there are at least 7 different accounts of the first vision. The current account in the PofGP was dictated by Joseph Smith and is the last one he gives before his death, the earliest account that Joseph wrote in his own hand was in 1832, 12 years after the vision.
10.) A horrific event on Sept. 11, 1857 in which LDS members murdered a large number of defenseless people traveling through Southern Utah from Arkansas.
11.) No, if this were true anything with caffeine would be ban.
12.) No, read up on Mountain Meadow Massacre.
13.) At least two ways, he used a seer stone placed in a hat and the Urim and Thumim.
14.) No, the church owns some fragments that contain at least one of the facsimiles found in the PofGP.
15.) No, they don’t agree with his translation. There are several LDS defenses to this problem.
16.) No, it is a general and faith promoting overview of LDS history. There are many things that members might find troubling if they knew all the details of LDS history.
17.) This is a story that has some parallels with the Book of Mormon that some detractors say Joseph Smith copied or used parts of to write the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith may have had access to it.
18.) Yes, he did.
19.) No, only Jesus was perfect. Yes, very few prophets haven’t.