What is Meat After Milk?
Meat After Milk asserts that the fundamental tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support full and honest disclosure of its history and addendum of any and all misleading correlated church materials which promote a single interpretation of history by omitting or misrepresenting historical information.
We affirm that historical evidence supports multiple interpretations of church history, which substantiate different degrees of religious orthodoxy and doctrines. We reject the assertion that a single correct interpretation of church history exists and instead recognize a spectrum of the historical understanding that acts as a foundation for a number of different latter-day denominations and as well different personal interpretations. We recognize that Mormonism has evolved into a global religion, that dissemination of its true history is requisite for global assimilation, and we wholeheartedly affirm the words expressed by President Utchdorf: “…regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church” (Come, Join with Us. October 1, 2013).
Meat After Milk is committed to creating a public space to advocate for ongoing review of all the LDS church’s (past, present, and future) published church educational materials aimed to identify and addend any and all occurrences of incomplete disclosure of church history.
Who are you?
Meat After Miilk’s organizers are Mormon men and women who have contributed countless hours of voluntary service to the LDS Church and view our actions here as a continuation of that faith-affirming and moral service, many of whom were and are continually influenced personally by the impact of prior non-disclosure of church history.
We welcome all who support our initiatives and public actions in support of complete disclosure.
What is your goal?
Meat After Milk envisions a religious community diversified in dogma, but unified by heritage that better reflects the depth, breadth, and inclusiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the latter-day restoration, as supported by variable interpretations of documented church history. We acknowledge the legitimacy of other latter-day saint movements and their respective interpretations of doctrine and history. We also acknowledge substantial weakness in the historical evidence supporting numerous truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We highlight and condemn the existence of intentional internal pressure applied by church leaders past and present (such as social ostracism, factual omission or misrepresentation, non- or partial disclosure, suppression of activism, disciplinary counsels, etc.) to promote a single and exclusive interpretation of history, which advance the aims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the personal detriment of affected individuals and their families.
We firmly assert that the Mormon people collectively and Mormonism as a movement are sufficiently influential and robust to withstand the feared consequences of full disclosure of church history. Most especially, an honest and upfront disclosure of previous error and concealment, along with full delineation of the true historical records, is critical to the movement’s survival and growth in the 21st century. Indeed, as has occurred with other major religious movements, Mormonism can no longer preferentially conceal aspects of its history to promote a higher degree of orthodox practice. Individual faith must not be predicated on incomplete truth. The intentional promotion of incomplete or misleading information for the promotion of self or organization gain is unethical, coercive, and manipulative. Therefore, we call on our LDS church leaders for (1) public admission of prior error and historical concealment, (2) full disclosure of recorded church history, and (3) sweeping addenda to correct all portions of church educational materials that misrepresent the history of the LDS church.
We are confident that members of all restoration-based denominations as well as LDS church members of all spectra of belief can gain respect, acceptance, and appreciation for one another when the complete details of the history of the early church are widely published, known, and internalized. Particularly, we desire to validate those individuals or groups who have been harmed or affected by the discovery of previously-undisclosed history by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We sincerely ask our leaders to take this matter to the Lord in prayer and consider pubic admission of prior concealment, full open disclosure of church history, and sweeping addenda to all past, present, and future educational materials to accurately teach recorded history.
Why are addenda necessary in the LDS Church?
The LDS church excels at promoting a unified doctrine and interpretation. The benefits of such are wide reaching and include a homogeneous curriculum, a global sense of belonging, centralized messages and activism, and familiarity of speech and understanding across world-wide congregations. The church’s “correlation” efforts, beginning in the 1960’s, which included combining multiple meetings into a single “block” schedule, printing standardized manuals and educational materials in dozens of languages, and centralizing hierarchical decision making, have propagated a unified core of beliefs and resulted in unprecedented growth.
While we recognize the potent and numerous favorable “fruit” that have resulted from these efforts, we cannot ignore that church correlation has misrepresented documented history. Much difficulty has arisen in the Internet-age as many of the neglected or concealed details of church history have resurfaced en mass in social media and web-based forums, resulting in mass disaffection and membership resignations . While some leaders or older members may have been aware of the concealment of unfavorable history and have justified it for any number of reasons (often citing the aforementioned favorable “fruit” that has resulted), we predict the ramifications of mass propagation of misrepresented history will be increasingly dire.
We have observed that church members with pure intentions and motives, whose solidarity of understanding is based on unopposed church education, is easily challenged or debunked by even the simplest of historical evidences or inquiries. A mere Google search of the Book of Abraham, for example, can initiate a faith crisis with disastrous consequences. Such members can experience severe negative mental, social, emotional, physical, professional, and cultural effects from the discovery of concealed but factual information and the church’s ongong refusal to acknowledge it. We argue that mass recognition of such historical discrepancies is inevitable and that, collectively, the LDS church would be actually better situated to solidify its future existence, continued growth, and global acceptance, if its members were internally made fully aware of the controversies of its documented history.
Since leadership in Mormonism has historically been unwilling to admit fault or confirm prior concealment and also since, simultaneously, more and more Mormons are discovering the history for themselves online, it is clear that it is only a matter of time until full and complete disclosure of all aspects of church history must inevitably come. We plead with church leaders to openly admit wrong doing and intentional non-disclosure of any and all past, well-intended leaders and to correct these errors through open and transparent addenda. Current efforts to disclose information via un-publicized, still partially-disclosing, and non-transparent revisions and essays are offensively inadequate. These continue to permit the personal, familial, and relationship damage that comes with third party discovery of recorded history. We intend to seek public attention in helping to raise awareness of this issue and its impact on thousands of Mormons and to hold the church responsible for any and all less-than-transparent or manipulative actions taken in the handling of this crisis.
Hasn’t the church done enough to disclose its history?
Many Mormons respond to questions about controversies in church history by minimizing their significance or insisting that discussing them are not worth their cost. Such logic only affirms the occlusive overtones surrounding these issues and heavy cultural and societal penalties built into the church infrastructure, which await those who demand full disclosure of history.
The fortification of faith does not justify means which obscure fact and misconstrue history. Faith will withstand all scrutiny, for it will remain strong in those things which are not seen which are (or at least might) be true.
The church’s establishment of secondary organizations such as the FARMS (the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) [now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship] and FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) speaks to the legitimacy of the historical problems, the complexity of the issues, and the church’s attempts to influence individual member interpretation of history. Recent modifications to LDS scripture and inclusion of historical essays addressing controversial topics also evidence the significance of the discussion. These actions constitute additional partial disclosure, as they reveal more of documented history, but do not fully disclosed history in its entirety.
For example, the recent change in the text of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon, specifying that the Lamanites are no longer to be considered the principle ancestors of American Indians, but are among the principle ancestors, was an entirely un-publicized change. Similarly, recent essays added to LDS.org’s Gospel Topics section, regarding blacks and the priesthood, multiple accounts of the first vision, etc. disclose historical information that was previously omitted, but again do not fully disclose all pertinent information. Truth about church history should be openly admitted and considered in its entirely and not relegated to un-publicized essays and revisions.
Will open disclosure decrease faith?
Faith is not created by imposed singularity of thought, dogma, or identity. Faith results from and is rejuvenated by individuals reaching for those ideals and behaviors which are recognized as separate from the mundane, those which rise to significance after long consideration, those which collectively grow to be considered worthy of emulation, admiration, and adoration, by the diversity of life experience that is human existence. Each faith system has its own frame of reference, its own cultural context, history, books, and rules, but commonly they promote similar principles and behaviors. Among ideals common to many religions and philosophies world wide is the principle of individual informed decision making. Intentional non-disclosure of factual information aimed at concealing unfavorable information and promoting a single interpretation of history to advance an organizational cause, no matter how noble or good, is propaganda and frank violation of the human right to education and the personal right to choose for one’s self. We refuse to tolerate historical concealment in our secular institutions and must reject it our homes and religious communities. This violation of personal liberty is utterly shameful and should be heralded as such, openly admitted, and completely jettisoned from the Mormon faith paradigm.
Why are Mormons resistant to discuss controversial history?
Fear of cultural, social, and familial repercussions and the perceived inherent wrongness of questioning , though increasingly contested, still inform Mormon attitudes and policies with regard to historical accountability. Certain doctrines are so critical to the foundation and definition of the Church, that questioning their historicity is equated to near or certain apostasy. Even the act of questioning itself is viewed so unfavorably that it is very difficulty for Mormons to request unbiased historical accuracy from a faithful perspective. For many Mormons, asking for accurate history is nearly viewed as a simultaneous act of rejecting faith, even though the two are not mutual exclusive, This was not always so, however. The investigation of Joseph Smith himself in questioning the dogmas of other sects, stands as an example of honest inquiry praised by the church, as do inquiries by dozens and hundreds of early church members prompting revelations, correction, and revision of actions and doctrines. Today, however, against the correlated wave of church materials, open or public questioning is not only unwelcome, it is punitive.
Meat After Milk asserts that misleading correlated church materials must undergo recall and addendum, for truly, “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed” (quoted in D. Michael Quinn: The Church Years. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24.) We argue that it ought to be addended.
How will complete historical disclosure affect the LDS Church?
Complete historical disclosure need not drastically alter the LDS church, for many will not desire to alter the existing culture, customs, or doctrine which have no need for addendum. However, because of the fundamental nature of the controversies in question, complete disclosure will substantiate and validate alternative interpretations of certain doctrines and practices.
Do most Mormons want the church’s history to be fully disclosed?
Most Mormons are not aware of the need for additional disclosure.
Don’t we need an idealized and perceptibly singularly-divine view of history as an incentive to serve and actively participate in the Church?
As evidenced by other churches, a singular view of the divine is permitted and is the right of any religious organization. However, the supporting information distributed to members and potential members must not be knowingly falsified and must reflect factual history, thereby enabling the belief of disbelief of unknown or factually unknowable assertions.
Isn’t it a sin to question the appropriateness of previous church actions?
No. We recognize that the current expectation for all members to “follow the brethren” can be inappropriately communicated to imply that following means not questioning. We disagree and feel (1) that faithful individual confirmation by the spirit is what confirms the truth of all things to active members, (2) that those who no longer have faith in living prophets are still influence heavily by church positions, warranting questioning, and that (3) the brethren are imperfect and well intended. We both publicly refrain from criticism and publicly request for admission of prior partial disclosure and publication of addended materials.
Why engage in public actions?
We intend to request addendum of correlated educational church materials respectfully, doing nothing that would warrant disciplinary action, but rather to focus on collectively gathering the evidence of coercion, shining a light on it, and requesting change first privately and then publicly if needed.
What’s your Meat After Milk profile policy?
We do not solicit, nor do we support, diatribes against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, we encourage thoughtful submissions on what the full disclosure of LDS church history would mean personally and/or for the institutional Church. We welcome those who are faithful Mormons, those who might return to the LDS Church but for historical non-disclosure, or those who care deeply about the Church and its members and are concerned about how mass incomplete disclosure affects all of us.
Why should I care whether or not history is fully disclosed in the LDS Church?
Partial disclosure of information is a form of propaganda and coercion; evidence of 21st-century coercion on such a global scale has potent ramifications in affirming the rights of individuals in regards to religious and educational rights.
Why the similarities between meataftermilk.org and ordainwomen.org?
We greatly appreciate the pioneering efforts of ordainwomen.org and its founders in bringing public awareness to the inequality and discrimination of women existing in the current LDS church and culture. We anticipate that much good will result from the eventual change that will be likely be incorporated into the LDS church because of their advocacy. We openly acknowledge the strong influence and occasional mimicry of the organization and approach of ordainwomen.org in our efforts to bring awareness to the issue historical non-disclosure in Mormonism.