Orson Scott Card: Nothing to fear from the truth

When I got home from my mission back in 1973, I discovered that my family had become close with the family of James B. Allen, who was then serving as assistant church historian. (I would bring the families even closer — in 1977 I married his oldest daughter.)

During the winter of 1974, with my future wife off on a BYU semester abroad in Paris, I occupied my time by working on writing a play about Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. Sections 121 and 122 of the Doctrine and Covenants had become very important to me on my mission, and I wanted to know the whole story behind them.

So my future father-in-law took me up to the Church Historical Department and helped me find a lot of excellent information — including photocopies of letters written in the Prophet's own hand to his wife.

I also read books and monographs that Professor Allen steered me to, detailing key events during the Saints' time in Missouri. That was when I found out for the first time that the Saints, including many of their leaders, had not been exactly wise in their dealings with each other and with their non-Mormon neighbors.

No actions of the Saints justified the way they were treated by their enemies, but some of their words and actions, magnified and spread as rumors, made many of the non-Mormon settlers feel justified in fearing the Saints and wanting to drive them out.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
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