from morm-hist mailing list:
>>> Hi, Have any of the rest of you read the article on the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood in the December 1996 Ensign? It successfully establishes the time frame of the end of May 1829 as reasonable for that event. Really well done. The author points out that events mentioned the same letter Quinn uses to get Aug. 1830 can establish May 1829. Since the letter was written so long after the fact and contradicts itself, one must choose what evidence is most consistent. Really forthright and well put together, in my opinion.<<<
I see that it had precisely the impression on you that it was apparently calculated to have. I'm sure the editors of the Ensign would be pleased.
It did not have that effect on me. It angered and saddened me that, once again, writers for the Ensign resort to shady use of evidence, half-truths, and apparently deliberate deception in order to eliminate doubt and sustain some "orthodox" version of our history.
In this case, you'll note that Brigham Young is described as having "strong views on (1) the sequence of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the apostleship under the hands of Peter, James, and John, and (2) the organization of the Church" (n. 16). This conveniently fails to mention that Brigham Young's "strong view" on this was the *opposite* of what Porter (the author of the Ensign article) concludes: it was that Joseph Smith organized the church with only the Aaronic Priesthood, and the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood came later.
You might also read very closely the wording of footnote 9. In his previous published version of this paper, Porter said that this September 1830 revelation nails down an absolute late limit on when the Melchizedek Priesthood could have occurred. He conveniently failed to mention that the critical verses on which he was replying were not added until 1835. Now he at least acknowledges that fact, but doesn't let that change his conclusion. After all, one must suppose that he reasons, the Lord wouldn't retroactively insert something into the text that wouldn't have been valid at the time the rest of the revelation was received.
And, BTW, Quinn also does his readers the courtesy of explaining the contradiction in the Addison Everett letter. As I recall Porter's first version of this paper, he did not do so, but quoted selectively only that portion that supported his thesis, leaving out the other conflicting part...
More on the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods