Once-official LDS history and doctrine is undergoing some hefty rewrites via the new Gospel Topics essays at LDS.org. As previously little-known information about Mormon history and doctrine has become available online, many Latter-day Saints are experiencing crises of faith when they learn of major discrepancies between what they have always been taught in the Church and what they have discovered on the internet. The Gospel Topic essays seek to fill a need for questioning Mormons to “read accurate information and be able to seek to understand those historical chapters in the context of time and place and understand that those answers have been approved by the presiding brethren of the church. I think that will give many of our members confidence that they can rely on these answers,” explains Church historian Steven E. Snow (“Understanding of Events in Church History: What about historical questions?” video).
As these essay answers generally do not consider or address the conflicting teachings of past Mormon prophets, seers and revelators, the following suggested rewrite of the beloved Mormon hymn, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” has been proposed by Mormonism Research Ministry.
We Thank Thee, O God, for Our Scholars
We thank thee, O God, for our scholars
To guide us away from GAs.
We thank thee, O God, for revisionists
To lighten our minds with their tales.
We thank thee for their clever wording
That sounds normal to the nations.
We feel it a treasure to have them
And rejoice in their obfuscations.
When dark clouds of history hang o’er us
And threaten our faith to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
Our deliverance by scholars is nigh.
We doubt not their words to distract us,
Their talent in changing the past.
The critics who challenge our stories
Will surely be silenced at last.
We welcome our well-crafted essays
We’ll praise them by day and by night.
We’re thankful, O God, for our scholars
Who keep our past well out of sight.
Thus happy and heedless to problems
We will doubt our doubts as we’re told,
Dismissing the words of our prophets
Happiness is in what we don’t know.
“Let me say with all the intensity I have
that nothing will hurt you more than what you don’t know.”
–Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland–
(“The Justice and Mercy of God,” Ensign, September 2013, 20)