Date: November 12, 2014 11:15AM
I was curious about the source of the recent essays the church is publishing on their website under the topics section. The following email is the response I received from the church.
You submitted a Question on ***:
Who is the author of this document? Who is it approved by? I am a member of the ***** Ward in the *********** Stake. I am studying this subject, but I never take open documents without a name and authorization to it as gospel truth. If you can help me with my questions it is appreciated. Regards, ******** referring-url:http://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng
LDS Response Team responded on **** as follows:
Thank you for your question about our newer article on the Book of Mormon Translation. This article is one of several newer topics that have been written for the various topics on our Gospel Topics page - the link for that page is found at the top of our home page of LDS.org - first click on "Teachings" and then on "Gospel Topics". At that page you will see a link labelled "Browse Alphabetically" - in this fashion you can find and read any of the several hundred topics we currently have. Eventually all of these topics are planned for rewrite much as the newer topics just rewritten such as the one on "Book of Mormon Translation".
The Public Affairs Office of the Church was asked to research each new topic, and they were told to use the newest and most accurate historical research on the subject. (Many of our Church sources that have traditionally been used for these subjects are based on information that is decades, if not a century, old). In the decades since, much new information, new documents, new evidence, has been published, including some of the information we have found ourselves in our own records while publishing the Joseph Smith Papers over the last 6-8 years. So, the Public Affairs staff does the research and writes up a first draft, and then this is sent on to members of the Priesthood Committee, which includes several members of the Quorum of the Twelve (I actually do not know which ones...) plus other General Authorities, and they finalize the articles. These articles are approved by the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency, and since we publish them on LDS.org they do represent official Church "opinions" on these subjects - to the best of our present knowledge. You'll notice that they are well foot-noted.
Actually, *******, you should not take them as "gospel truth" - they merely represent the most accurate historical knowledge we currently have - and they were specifically written to help counter the rising anti-Mormon critics who have multiplied on the Internet and who have become familiar with some of this information. The critics have selectively published and discussed some of the data, to what they consider their advantage, without honestly or accurately or completely taking into account all the data now out there. This is what we have tried to do.
I hope this helps you! God Bless!
Response Team Volunteer - RK