“I have been induced to write this history, to . . . put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, . . . in relation both to myself and the Church.”
Joseph Smith—History 1:1
1 Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world—I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.
Elder L. Tom Perry said:
“While the Church is becoming more visible, there are still many people who do not understand it. Some have been taught to be suspicious of the Church, to operate under negative stereotypes about the Church without questioning their source and validity. There is also a great deal of misinformation and confusion about what the Church is and what it stands for. This has been true since the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
“Joseph Smith wrote his history in part ‘to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts’ (Joseph Smith—History 1:1). It is true that there will always be those who will distort the truth and deliberately misrepresent the teachings of the Church. But the majority of those with questions about the Church simply want to understand. These are fair-minded people who are genuinely curious about us.
“The growing visibility and reputation of the Church presents some remarkable opportunities to us as its members. We can help ‘disabuse the public mind’ and correct misinformation when we are portrayed as something we are not. More important, though, we can share who we are.
“There are a number of things that we can do—that you can do—to advance an understanding of the Church. If we do it with the same spirit and if we conduct ourselves in the same way we do when we host a temple open house, our friends and our neighbors will come to understand us better. Their suspicions will evaporate, negative stereotypes will disappear, and they will begin to understand the Church as it really is.”
(“Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 42.)