“The honest investigator must be prepared to follow wherever the search of truth may lead. Truth is often found in the most unexpected places. He must, with fearless and open mind insist that facts are far more important than any cherished, mistaken beliefs, no matter how unpleasant the facts or how delightful the beliefs.”
Hugh B. Brown – General Conference, October 1962
I was born in the covenant to two faithful Mormon parents. My progression through the nursery, primary, boy scouts, and young men’s programs was an integral part of my upbringing. The knowledge and testimony I gained during this time prepared me for the full-time mission I served. Upon returning from my mission, I was lucky enough to marry and become sealed in the temple to my amazing and beautiful wife. I have held numerous church callings throughout the years. My time spent as a Sunday school teacher is where my love for exploring church history began to develop.
This project began in July of 2009 while reading the Ensign article, “The Joseph Smith Papers: The Manuscript Revelation Books” by, then Church Historian, Elder Marlin K Jensen. The article was used to promote the effort the Church had undertaken to publish all manuscripts created by, or under the direction of, Joseph Smith Jr., since the first volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project was published just a year earlier. This ambitious endeavor consisted of a published first volume and a complementary website, and remained largely unknown to the general membership of the Church at that time. I visited josephsmithpapers.org and immediately my love for exploring Church history became a passion.
My wife can confirm that, at times, I can get bit by the curiosity bug and spend large amounts of time researching and involving myself in new niches of life. I spent hours a day reading the original journals of Joseph Smith. That lead to the Journal of Discourses, the History of the Church, early Mormon periodicals, journals, and many more.
Soon after I started studying, several discrepancies began to emerge. Discrepancies between well-known church history events and the canonized stories we’ve all grown up learning. Not only was I finding conflicting stories, I was finding new stories of uncomfortable events I’ve never heard of. Since I have a terrible memory I started a little list so I would not forget these interesting points and where to find them. Little by little, the list grew into the paper you have before you. It then became important to format this information into a letter for my wife so we can be on the same page.