I’m still utterly baffled by the idea that the Church deceived or lies to people by presenting the origins of the Restoration and calling of Joseph as a Prophet in somewhat simplistic detail..
Maybe it is just me and maybe I’m projecting the expanded understandings life has given me backwards in time, but I can’t recall ever hearing the material from primary lessons or even seminary, and thinking it represented a complete and comprehensive picture of the people, details, and events involved in those miraculous incidents.
I feel as though to me they (these lessons) always represented sort of “chapter headings” or “framework outlines”, tools that provide enough information for the user to then ask God for a witness, but that there was obviously more to the story. I feel like that was their purpose and design, and I also feel the Church made that understanding implicit.
They were giving us the “Reader’s Digest” version so we could ask God and obtain a witness for ourselves, through faith, by the Power of the Holy Ghost.
Now there are a few reasons that they would want to do this lets explore briefly what some of those might be.
1. They would want us to then take that witness and learn more on our own and be anxiously engaged, in our own Gospel education
2. They viewed the Living of the Gospel, and Discipleship of more importance than getting caught up and bogged down in the details of history. They wanted to focus to be on what was done with the witness rather than all the info needed to get one.
3. Many things don’t have good answers or enough detail to reach solid unambiguous conclusion so again the obtaining of a witness and then living accordingly became paramount and of greater value in the Grand Scheme. So the Church operated accordingly.
4. As has recently been stated the exploration of the full depth complexity and nuance of these events doesn’t appeal the overwhelming majority of the population. So why devote particular time attention and resources to something that benefits a very select few? The answer is you don’t.
Thus when I examine things I am left to conclude that the Church felt that the general overview, which it should be noted is the approach Joseph uses in his own history, and makes known there is more to him and his story and the First Vision for that matter than he feels necessary to convey, (let’s not forget this approach comprises pretty much the Total Composition philosophy of the Book of Mormon, from the Small Plates of Nephi ((where only the most important Spiritual Info was given)) to Mormon repeatedly saying he couldn’t tell even the hunderedth part of what had happened) was of greatest value, and the getting of people to obtain a witness and knowledge of the Truth, by the Power of the Holy Ghost was the endeavor that the Brethren saw as most important, and thus the priority that shaped how and what was taught.
This isn’t nefarious or dastardly or a planned deception. Sure the implicit message that those lessons were just the basics could have been made explicit. But if you accepted such simple stories as comprehensive that is on you, and whether or not you want to accept it that is the reality.