From the Improvement Era vol 1:1


A correspondent asks the following question:

“Is it deemed advisable by the Church oficials for one to gather individual testimonies from our aged brethren who have been faithful in the cause of truth, and also from our elders who return home from time to time from missions, and who are full of the spirit of their calling? Is it proper to record these testimonies in private journals?”

We see no impropriety in brethren gathering individual testimonies concerning the truth, either from the aged brethren or from the elders returning from missions. On the contrary, we believe that the testimonies of our aged brethren who knew the Prophet Joseph, and other early elders and leaders of the church, ought to be secured, and carefully recorded; provided, of course, that the circumstances are well authenticated and carefully and accurately stated. We fear that many things that are reported as coming from the Prophet Joseph, and other early elders in the church, by not being carefully recorded or told with strict regard for accuracy, have lost something of their value as historical data, and unwarranted additions have sometimes been made to the original facts, until it is difficult to determine just how far some of the traditions which have come to us may be accepted as reliable representations of what was said or what was done. Let those who feel impressed to make a record of facts, as they become acquainted with them, do so; but let them exercise the greatest care in obtaining accuracy of statement and in giving the authority for the statements they record.