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The LDS Church owns a very large set of vaults carved in a granite mountainside. These are located in the Wasatch Mountains, the edge of the Rocky Mountains. These vaults are sealed from the public - and members. Only the First Presidency has access to them.
| There's a short video at the end....But first..... |
Associated Press: Some scholars say historical records point to discrepancies with the official church history. How do you reconcile the differences? And what is the church's position on historical scholarship?
President Hinckley: Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.
From Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" p. 176 (2000 Copyright, paperback): "Christianity's most sacred codices are in that archive. Treasures I myself am not privileged to see. Access is permitted only by written decree. or by papal mandate.p. 177 "The secret Vatican archives are located.They contain over 20,000 volumes, and are rumored to hold such treasured volumes as Lionardo da Vinci's missing diaries and even unpublished books of the Holy Bible." In other words, things that the Vatican does not want people to see..
."WE HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE. OUR HISTORY IS AN OPEN BOOK" - gbh
Church spokesman Jerry Cahill had little to say by way of clarification. "I presume [it is] in the possession of the First Presidency," he said, because the history was not in the historical department archives. Cahill said he would not ask whether the Cowdery history is kept in the First Presidency's vault. "I don't intend to respond to every report or rumor of documents in the First Presidency's vault," Mr. Cahill told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I have no idea if the history is there, nor do I intend to ask. I can't have my life ordered about by rumors. Where does it end?"
When researchers learned what happened and said that it was being suppressed, the church decided to "stonewall." A spokesman for the church said: " 'The church doesn't have the letter... It's not in the church archives or the First Presidency's vault.' " (Salt Lake Tribune, April 29, 1985) Finally, when it became clear that some Mormon scholars had photocopies of the letter and were going to turn them over to the news media, the church backed down, and the same spokesman admitted his earlier statement was "in error": "The purported letter was indeed acquired by the church. For the present it is stored in the First Presidency's archives..." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1985). "The First Presidency's archive or vault, where the 1825 letter was concealed, is undoubtedly the ultimate 'black hole.' Documents which are embarrassing to the Mormon Church disappear into this bottomless abyss and are seldom heard of again."
President Hinckley telephoned in June 1982 to say that he was sympathetic about a request I had written to obtain access to documents in the First Presidency's vault but that my request could not be granted. Since I now knew all I ever would about post-Manifesto polygamy, I told him I would go ahead and publish the most detailed and supportive study I could of the topic.
Jan 11,1983 - Second counselor Gordon B. Hinckley pays document dealer Mark Hofmann $15,000 for alleged Joseph Smith letter about his treasure digging activities. He has Hofmann agree not to mention the transaction to anyone else and then he sequesters document in First Presidency's vault.
Gordon B. Hinckley told Brent Ashworth to "tell the people we've got nothing to hide", and at the same time Gordon B. Hinckley is hiding the Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell letter in the First presidency vault (see page 293). This event leads me to believe Hofmann's lies and deceit flourished because of lies and deceit that exists in the Mormon church environment.
Mike suggests that the beginning of the Joseph Knight autobiography that Dean Jesse edited in BYU Studies was not destroyed, but may be in the 1st Presidency vault thanks to Joseph Fielding Smith! This particular autobiography is the best source for much of the Moroni visions. It has all the magic stuff in it..
Unfortunately, the Mormon Church suppresses a great deal of important material that reflects badly on the church. Much of this material is kept hidden away in the Church Historical Department and in the First Presidency's vault. This suppressive attitude has been criticized by many of the church's historians.
Joseph Fielding Smith once wrote: "The earliest records of the Church are in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. He acted as scribe and recorder, generally, in the first conferences of the Church." Cowdery's records, wrote Smith, "are invaluable.". Although President Smith wrote in the 1920s that "we have on file in the Historian's Office the records written in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery," the Church has never formally stated that they possess the document. No researcher has ever studied it, nor is any copy of its text known to exist. Now, an individual (who has remained anonymous in order to protect his Church standing) says that he has seen the Cowdery history in the First Presidency's vault.
When the First Presidency's Vault yielded the letter presented to Gordon Hinckley by Hofmann in which Thomas Bullock accused Brigham Young of having tried to destroy the Blessing of Joseph Smith III, it caught the War Room by surprise. "What else are they hiding?" Michael George demanded. "None of the church historians I've talked to - Don Schmidt, Leonard Arrington, and Dean Jessee - even knew this existed. They've never heard of it. What else do they have? Who knows what's in the First Presidency's Vault?"
..the Church routinely acquires and suppresses church history documents in order to deceive its members and the public.... a February 11, 1987, New York Times feature states: According to investigators, the church leaders purchased from Mr. Hofmann and then hid in a vault a number of 19th-century letters and other documents that cast doubt on the church's official version of it's history.
The authorities looked even more like old, incompetent, paranoid fools when Turley's book revealed that the First Presidency's vault contained the famous McLellin papers that Hofmann had promised to produce. The Mormon leaders had no idea they were there--since 1908.
Today's prophets, seers, and revelators-the ordained apostles who lead the church-do not speak in tongues or use divining rods, and Joseph's seerstone is safely tucked away in the First Presidency's vault.
Salamander Letter - A Hofmann forgery, is held in an LDS Church vault.
In about 1982, a descendent of Brigham Young, Mary Brown Firmage was told by the First Presidency's secretary that there were 3 seer stones in First Presidency's vault.
".BUT THE FACT IS THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IS CLEAR AND OPEN AND LEADS TO FAITH AND STRENGTH AND VIRTUES" - gbh
Question: ..The early 70's are referred to as the Arrington Spring in LDS church history. How would you compare that openness with the current church historical department?
Answer.I had a fellowship to do Mormon study in the Church Archives in the summer of 1973. But by no means were all records open. Anything in the First Presidency's Vault was not open.... The tightening of access came when more conservative leaders wanted to restrict the record to scholars who would use the materials "responsibly." I do not think the current church leadership is likely to reopen the sources as widely as was the case in the early 1970s.
In a speech Quinn gave in 1981, he noted that he had "spent a decade probing thousands of manuscript diaries and records of Church history" that he "never dreamed" he would view. (On Being a Mormon Historian. a lecture given by D. Michael Quinn, Brigham Young University, Fall 1981
.Quinn is an historian who has focused on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From 1976 to 1988, he was a professor at BYU, after which he resigned over a dispute with the BYU administration concerning matters of academic freedom. At the time, his work concerned church involvement with plural marriage after the 1890 Manifesto, in which the practice was officially renounced. In 1993, his work resulted in his excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A well-researched and documented book. Ms. Brodie did much of her research in the Mormon Church's archives and library, and because David O. McKay (a former president of the Mormon Church) was her uncle, she had access to documents that other researchers did not. The following interview with Ms. Brodie was conducted on Nov. 30, 1975:
o Q: Are those church archives open now? I read a comment indicating that it was believed that your book would open archival material.
o A: It had the reverse effect. The archives were largely closed to scholars after my book came out....
I am an excommunicated Mormon. I was officially excommunicated when the biography of Joseph Smith was written and published. About six months after publication, there was a formal excommunication.
The Granite Mountain Vault
The Vault, as it is commonly known, is a massive excavation reaching 600 feet into the north side of the canyon... Under 700 feet of stone, the Vault proper is situated farther back in the mountain behind production section and consists of six (storage)chambers (each 190 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 25 feet high), which are accessed by one main entrance and two smaller passageways. Specially constructed Mosler doors weighing fourteen tons (at the main entrance) and nine tons (guarding the two smaller entrances) are designed to withstand a nuclear blast. In the six chambers, nature maintains constant humidity and temperature readings optimum for microfilm storage....Each chamber contains banks of steel cabinets ten feet high. (Note to reader. this statement is not accurate.both "A" vault and "F" vault contain open storage racks).
Here's a peek inside:
Note before viewing:
THIS IS A PR FILM BY THE MORG. - THE FILM ONLY DISCUSSES GENEAOLGY... BUT THERE'S A LOT MORE IN THERE.... (March 11, 2006 Church News..."taking photos in the vault area is no longer allowed"... Public access is not allowed. Also, it takes a security clearance for anyone to get into the production areas...The vaults are basically off limits to everyone except a few workers..."F" vault is off limits to everyone period....
Pause at 18-22 seconds into the video.this is a view of one of 6 storage areas in the back of the vault.. Only 4 of these are devoted to genealogical records..
Pause at 33-38 seconds into the video .this is a view of the fourteen ton door and the corridor leading to the storage areas. There are three storage areas on each side of the hallway (none are visible). "A" vault is the first room on the left and contains financial, legal, real estate, membership, and other miscellaneous computer records having to do with "business". "B" vault is the first room on the right as you enter the corridor.."C" is the middle vault on the left and so on.. "B-E" vaults contain microfilm and related genealogical documents. At the far end of the corridor is a room with a large reservoir (pool) of drinkable mountain spring water and an earthquake seismograph.
Ignore the rest of the video.
"F" Vault is the storage area that is locked to everyone except the 1st presidency or whomever they alone allow inside. It is located in the rear of the corridor on the right hand side. It contains all artifacts related to the Morg. that are kept from the public. I have been in "F" vault twice - both times before the edict of BKP and the 1st presidency to limit all access. I did not have the chance to explore this vault and was only able to view it from close to the doorway. This storage area contains, lots of old original documents, artifacts, books, journals, boxes containing who knows what.. all of these situated on open elevated racks. Many rumors circulate about what is in this vault.. Your guess is as good as mine in this regard.. It was told to me confidentially by church historians, that Mark Hoffman was granted access to documents in this vault and he had a co-conspirator who was able to smuggle out some documents later purchased by the church that they already owned... This vault likely contains the documents previously accessed by Michael Quinn and Fawn Brodie, along with many that even they were not able to see...
From the lds website: http://www.lds.org/media/videoclip/display/1,7031,1659-1-747,00.html
Note: The Widows Media Player at High Resolution worked best on my computer.unless you have a slow connection.
| Over on the aptly named MADboard, a poster named erichard has posted a list of stuff which is supposedly held in the top-secret Church Vault, which is dug into the side of a mountain in Little Cottonwood Canyon, just outside Salt Lake City. (It is visible from the road, in fact.) I thought this was quite intriguing: |
Incomplete List of Items in the First Presidency Vaults
"Obscene Material"? "$18.50 to be paid in kitchen chairs"??? I love how this list is a mixture of the obviously historically relevant, the mundane, and the absolutely whacked-out absurd. Who knows what else could be in the vaults? A research lab, where they are developing better equipment for spying on the membership, maybe? ; ) In any case, I always enjoy threads like these, since they rankle the hypersensitive TBMs to no end.
An Address by Way of an Abridged Account and Journal of My Life, Lyman Wight
An Address to Americans, James Mulholland
Almanacs (1859, 1860, 1861, 1863, 1864), William W. Phelps
The Amateur, Ogden, Utah, YMMIA
An Appeal to the American People, Sidney Rigdon
Articles of Association for the United Order (1870 and 1874)
Book of Mormon (Various Editions, including 1830)
Book of One Thousand Marks and Brands, William Clayton
Book of the Law of the Lord, James J. Strang
The California Star
Calumny Refuted and the Truth Defended, John Taylor
Celestial Marriage, and the Plurality of Wives, Jesse Haven
Central Route, The Emigrant's Guide, Thomas B. H. Stenhouse
Circular to Bishop Edward Hunter, First Presidency
The City Charter of Nauvoo, Illinois
The City of the Mormons, Henry Caswall
A Collection of Sacred Hymns (1835, 1844, etc.)
A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, Daniel Tyler
Constitution of the State of Deseret
A Correct Account of the Murder of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith, William M.
Death of the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum Smith, John Gooch
Delusions..., Alexander Campbell
Deseret Almanac (1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, etc.,), William W. Phelps
A Dialogue between Joe Smith and the Devil, Parley P. Pratt
The Diamond, James J. Strang
A Dissertation on Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, William I. Appleby
Doctrine and Covenants (1835, etc.)
Book of Commandments
Document Containing the Correspondence, Orders, andc. in Relation to the Disturbances
with the Mormons
Document Showing the Testimony Given Before the Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit
The Evening and Morning Star
Evidence Taken on the Trial of Mr. Smith
Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon, Charles B. Thompson
The Far West: Or, A Tour Beyond the Mountains, Edmund Flagg
Y Farw Wedi Ei Chyfodi Yn Fyw, Dan Jones
A Few Plain Facts, George J. Adams
General Courses and Distance from G.S.L. City to Fort Limhi, Jesse W. Fox
1847 General Epistle from the Council of the Twelve Apostles
General Joseph Smith's Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys
General Smith's Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States
The Gospel Reflector
Governor's Message - Brigham Young (1850, 1851, etc.)
A Grammar of the Hebrew Language, Moses Stuart
He That Hath Ears to Hear, Orson Hyde
History of the Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri upon the Mormons,
Parley P. Pratt
History of the Persecutions, Charles W. Wandell
A History of the Priesthood, Benjamin Winchester
An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, Orson Pratt
James J. Strang, Weighed in the Balance, Reuben Miller
Journal of Discourses
Heber C. Kimball Journal
Late Persecution of the Church, Parley P. Pratt
The Latter Day Saints, A Poem, Omer
The Latter-day Saints' Emigrants' Guide, William Clayton
Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate
A Lecture on the Authenticity and Scriptural Character of the Book of Mormon, George J.
Letters of Oliver Cowdery to W.W. Phelps
List of Recorded Brands, William Clayton
Manifesto from William S. Godbe and E.L.T. Harrison
Hebrew Grammar, James Seixas
Marks and Brands, William Clayton
Melchizedek and Aaronic Herald - Isaac Sheen
The Millenium, Parley P. Pratt
Mormonism: Embracing the origin., James Hunt
Mormonism Unvailed, Eber D. Howe
Mormonism Unveiled, Parley P. Pratt
The Mormons in Illinois, G. W. Westbrook
Narrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons, Catherine Lewis
A Narrative of the Life of Solomon Mack
The Olive Branch
The Only Way to be Saved, Lorenzo Snow
Oration Delivered by Mr. Sidney Rigdon
Ordinances of the City of Nauvoo
Ordinances, Passed by the Legislative Council of Great Salt Lake City
Ordinances Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret
`Pamphlet book' - George Albert Smith
`Pamphlet book of miscellaneous pamphlets owned by Wilford Woodruff
Pearl of Great Price (1851, etc)
Plain Facts, Showing the Falsehood and Folly of Rev. C.S. Bush, Parley P. Pratt
Political and Religious Detector, Noah Packard
Proclamation to the People of the Coasts and Islands of the Pacific, Parley P. Pratt
Prophetic Almanac (1845, 1846), Orson Pratt
Prophetic Controversy, James S. Strang
Reply to Shall We Believe in Mormon, Charles W. Wandell
Revised Laws of the Nauvoo Legion
Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake City, James Linforth
St. Louis Luminary
Edward L. Sloan works
A Short Account of a Shameful Outrage, Parley P. Pratt
A Small Selection of Choice Hymns, C. Merkley
Strictures, on Dr. I. Galland's pamphlet, David W. Kilbourne
Synopsis of Phrenology, O.S. Fowler
Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures, Benjamin Winchester
Testimonies for the Truth, Benjamin Brown
Third General Epistle of the Presidency
Times and Seasons
To the Public, William Smith
A Treatise on the Fulness of the Everlasting Gospel, Moses Martin
A True and Descriptive Account of the Assassination of Joseph and Hiram Smith, Thomas
Utah Territorial Library Catalogue
A Vocabulary of the Snake or Shoshone Dialect, Joseph A. Gebow
The Voice of the Captives, Assembled at Zarahemla
The Voice of Truth, Joseph Smith
A Voice of Warning and Proclamation to All, Francis Gladden Bishop
The Western Standard
Why the "Latter Day Saints" Marry a Plurality of Wives, Benjamin F. Johnson
The Wonderful Prophecies of Robert Nixon, Robert Nixon
A Word of Consolation to the Scattered Saints, Jason W. Briggs
Yankee Story, Hiram Bradley Clawson
Alberta Temple Dedication Services
Missionary Blessing of Truman O. Angell
Arizona Temple Dedication Services
George Bean Report
Ezra T. Benson Missionary Blessing
Carson Valley Mission List of Missionaries
Council of Fifty Minutes and Notes
Elder's Licenses and Record of Ordinations (Independence and Kirtland)
Elk Mountain Mission List of Missionaries
Far West List of Members
Far West Record
Female Subscriptions, Nauvoo
1893 First Presidency Minutes
First Presidency Office Journal
Various First Presidency Minutes
Flat Head Mission List of Missionaries
Garden Grove, Iowa, History
1855-1856 General Conference Minutes
Hawaiian Temple Dedication Services
Idaho Falls Temple Dedication Services
Kirtland, Ohio, Township Record and record of Livestock Ear Marks
Kirtland Stake Minutes
Las Vegas Mission List of Missionaries
Liverpool Office Emigration Record (1840-1854)
Logan Temple Dedication Services
Los Angeles Temple Dedication Services
Mormon Battalion Record (1846-1848)
Nauvoo, Ill., City Council Proceedings
Nauvoo, Ill., Deed Records
Nauvoo, Ill., List of Members
Nauvoo, Ill., Marriage Records
Nauvoo, Ill., Municipal Court Docket
Nauvoo, Ill., Schools
Nauvoo, Ill., Seventies License Record
Nauvoo, Ill., Trustee in Trust Tithing and Donation Record
Nauvoo, Ill., Trustee's Land Book
Nauvoo High Council Minutes
Nauvoo Legion Minutes
Nauvoo Library and Literary Institute Minutes
Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minutes
Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes
New Zealand Temple Dedication Services
Oakland Temple Dedication Services
Pioneer Emigration List
Pottawattamie High Council Minutes
St. George Temple Dedication Services
Salt Lake Stake High Council Minutes
Salt Lake Temple Dedication Services
Salt Lake Temple Annex Dedication Services
Swiss Temple Dedication Services
Teacher's Quorum Minutes (Far West, Kirtland, and Nauvoo)
George A. Smith Letter Book (1854) [Included in Nauvoo Marriage Record Book]
Various other Temple Dedications
Affidavits on Joseph Smith and Plural Marriage
Berlin Mission, Confidential Report, 1963-1966
Bible, photocopy of Bernhisel copy of Inspired Version manuscript
Bible, manuscript in Deseret Alphabet
Bible, Matthew, Chapter 24
Book of Commandments, Law and Covenants
Book of John Whitmer
Book of Mormon manuscript, Copyright, and Course Taken by Nephites
Book of Mormon manuscripts in Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Deseret Alphabet, Dutch,
Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindostanee (Urdu), Hungarian, Italian, Japanese,
Maori, Rumanian, Philippine (Ilicano Dialect), Russian, Slovak, Swedish,
Tongan, Turkish, Yugoslavian (Serbo-croatian)
Brands, Utah, manuscript, 1850
George Q. Cannon Journal [May have been moved]
George Q. Cannon letters (1871-1879)
Albert Carrington letter (1886)
Catechism for Children, by John Jaques, manuscript in Deseret Alphabet
Phebe Chase's Temple apron
Church of the First-born of the Fulness of Times Minutes (1955)
City of Zion Plat
William Clayton letters (1869, 1871, 1874)
William Clayton's manuscript for Emigrant's Guide
Oliver Cowdery Account Books (1835-1836, 1839-1846)
The Hebrew Question, Oliver Cowdery
Oliver Cowdery Journal (1836)
Oliver Cowdery letter to Hyrum Smith (1831)
Oliver Cowdery Revelation (1829)
Warren A. Cowdery Ledgers and Cash Book (1816-1830)
Cypher Book (Telegraph Code Book)
State of Deseret Constitution (1849)
Deseret Alphabet (Punches used for printing)
Deseret First Book, first reader (Incomplete manuscript in Deseret Alphabet)
Deseret Phonetic Speller in Deseret Alphabet
Deseret Second Book, second reader, in Deseret Alphabet
Doctrine and Covenants, manuscript in Deseret Alphabet
Doctrine and Covenants, Kirtland Revelations
Doctrine and Covenants, Czechoslovak manuscript
Doctrine and Covenants (handwritten copies of revelations)
Documentary History of the Church, original manuscript
Various Dream Mine papers
Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, and various manuscripts
Far West Missouri Plat
Fundamentalist Church Minutes (1951-1952)
John L. Ginn manuscript
Miles Goodyear map
Jacob Hamblin Journal and letters
Martin Harris, deeds and articles of agreement
Lansford W. Hastings map
Hebrew Grammar manuscript
John E. Hill's manuscripts of hymns and tracts in Hungarian
Historian's Office Journal (1858-1878)
Historical Notation manuscript (Guide for material used in compiling DHC, 1841-1857)
Orson Hyde manuscripts containing some sections of DandC
Orson Hyde Revelation (3/14/1846)
Independence, Missouri, Temple Plans
Indian Wars, manuscript by John L. Ginn
Inspired Version manuscript by James E. Talmage (cross referenced to Inspired Version)
List of Persons Driven from Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833
Andrew Jenson's Temple garment
Kirtland, Ohio, Plat
Masonry Affidavits and article by William S. Paine
William McLellin Diary
Petition of Citizens of Carroll County, Missouri, 1838
John Moore's Application to become a citizen, and trial in Bishop's Court
Mormon Battalion Member List
Mountain Meadows Massacre manuscript, John L. Ginn
Nauvoo, Ill., Act to Incorporate the City (1840)
Nauvoo Municipal Court (impression on seal of wax, 1843)
L. John Nuttall Diary [May have been moved]
Obituary Notices of Distinguished Persons (1837-1872)
William S. Paine manuscript of "In Defense of Joseph Smith the Prophet"
Patriarchal Blessings, Vol. 2, Joseph Smith Sr., (includes transactions of the Twelve,
Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham manuscripts
Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses manuscript
Pearl of Great Price, Egyptian manuscripts
LaMar Peterson's manuscript for "Hearts Made Glad," and his excommunication
William W. Phelps Journal (1835)
List of Original Pioneers
Various Portraits (Daguerreotype, tintype, ambrotype, and glass) of Old Tabernacle,
Temple Square, Joseph F. Smith, Isaac Hale, Polly Walworth Lambson, Joseph
Smith III, Eliza R. Snow, Charles E. Keetch, J.T. Ross, John W. Young, Nauvoo
Temple ruins, Brigham Young Jr., Robert Warner, Julia Earl Warner, John Smith,
Brigham Young, Emma and Bertha Howell Jenson, Mrs. W.C. Staines, Parley P.
Pratt, William Stewart Seeley, Lovina Smith Walker, Capt. James Brown, and
numerous unidentifiable persons
Parley P. Pratt's Temple apron
George Reynolds letter (1888)
John W. Rigdon's manuscript on the life story of his father, Sidney Rigdon
Brigham H. Roberts' manuscripts of "Data of Verbal and Grammatical Errors in the
Book of Mormon," "The Life Story of B. H. Roberts," and "The Way, the Truth,
Orrin Porter Rockwell, Affidavit by Milo Andrus (1934)
San Bernardino Ranch Deed (1857)
Paul G. Schettler's Temple apron
Annie Smith letter in Deseret Alphabet (1869)
Hyrum Smith Journal (1838-1839)
Piece of Joseph Smith's shirt and vest
Joseph Smith Journals (1832-1834, 1835-1836, 1839)
Joseph Smith Letter Book (1829-1835, 1838-1843)
Joseph Smith letters (1831, 1832, 1833, 1836, 1839-1844)
Joseph Smith petition of Saints to Congress of U.S. (1839)
Joseph Smith painting on tin
Joseph Smith Revelations (not included in DandC)
Joseph Smith wax seal (1844)
Joseph Smith's "Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government" (1844)
Lucy Mack Smith's manuscript of "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and His
William Smith essay (notes written on Chamber's Miscellany)
Eliza R. Snow's Temple apron
Lorenzo Snow Revelations
James J. Strang's 6/18/1844 letter (Purportedly from Joseph Smith)
John Taylor Diary [May have been moved]
Moses Thatcher's High Council Trial Minutes (1897)
Twelve Apostle's Minutes (1835, 1849-1870)
Utah Territory Census Statistics (1872)
Nelson Wheeler Whipple Journal
David Whitmer Testimony (1881)
Newel K. Whitney's 1842 letter from Joseph Smith
Lyman Wight's petition to the Honorable Senate of the United States
Frederick G. Williams' manuscript on questions, characters on Book of Mormon, etc.
Wilford Woodruff's handkerchief given to him by Joseph Smith
Wilford Woodruff Revelations
Charles S. Woodward letter and account of Dream Mine investigation
Brigham Young promissory note for $18.50 to be repaid in kitchen chairs (1830)
List of Zion's Camp Members
Materials not listed in Manuscript Card Catalog:
Coins (Centennial coin issued by Reorganized Church; Deseret gold coins; Joseph
Smith's coins [paid by Joseph just before martyrdom]; Joseph Smith penny
Coins (Dies for gold coins)
Coins from many countries
Council of Fifty Minutes, rolls (1845-1849, 1867-1868, 1880-1882)
Various Currencies (Kirtland Safety Society; Deseret currency; Deseret Currency
Association, cooperatives, mercantile institutions; Bank of Monroe; City of
Nauvoo; Nauvoo House Association; Nauvoo Legion; storehouse notes; Drover's
Bank; First National Bank of Great Salt Lake City; GSLC Corp; Salt Lake City
Corp; Salt Lake City National Bank of Utah; Utah State National Bank; Utah
Territorial Mercantile Currency; ZCMI; etc.
Awards in the form of coins, issued by Deseret Agriculture and Manufacturing Society, etc.
Badges, for Pioneer Jubilee (1851); state celebrations; old folks day, etc.
Medals of Lorenzo Snow; Mormon Temple; Pony Express Diamond Jubilee; Brigham
Obscene Material [I don't know what this could be]
John Taylor Revelation (1882)
John Whitmer, photocopy of his original manuscript
| So, I was able to get a job at the vault because my dad had worked for the church for about 10 years at the COB so he was a good reference. I got the job after they made sure my recommend was current and I was trust worthy enough to allow in. I believe I had two interviews and I'm not sure what kind of background check the church does, but I have been told that it is quite a process to be allowed to work for the church. Still, I wasn't by any means perfect and neither were some of my co-workers. I think my dad's reputation as a hard worker helped me out most.
My husband took me to work every day. When driving up the canyon just after the ski resorts, there is a hairpin turn on the left side to go up to the vault. I had never noticed it before working there. There is a gate that you have to go through to get up to the parking lot. At the gate, you push a button and they ask who you are and you tell them and they let you up. No exceptions. You have to wait for them to look at you in their security camera every day. They are not messing around up there. When they lifted the gate, we would drive to the parking lot and then I would get out and go in the big metal door that led to the desk where the security guard checked your badge every day. When my husband came to pick me up every day at the same time, he always had to push the button and tell him who he was and why he was there.
Layout of the Vault: After you check in you go down the hall and to the left. I wish I could draw it up, maybe I'll work on that. After the corridor you can only go left into another long hallway. Along this there are little sections on either side that are work areas for people who are programming microfilm and microfiche. (Programming is what they call it, but this is what that entails: you hook a roll of film on a stand on the right side of your desk and then hook the end of the film to another roll on a stand on the other side of the desk that has a handle for you to roll it back up, but in reverse. You look through film by unrolling it under a microscope where you look at it every few frames to see if it is clear enough to read and reprint or not. If it is clear and clean you give it a number that tells the printer to print it as is. If it isn't clear, then you give it a number - or program it - and it tells the printer what setting to print it on in order for it to come out more clearly than the original. This is what I did there, and I was good at it!)
So there is a large section to the right and then another to the left where people are working on film. After that there was another area with offices and a secretary on the left and on the right is a hallway and door that leads to the corridor that goes back into the actual vaults A through F. Still walking down the main corridor then there is another work area on the right where the people who get film out of the filing cabinets in the Athrough D vaults organize it and put it into batches according to where the copies are ordered from etc.
At the end of the long main corridor on the left is a hallway that goes back to a small kitchen with vending machines and a phone (no cell phones in there as far as I remember) and behind the kitchen a large room with tables for eating and lots of chairs that are set up once during the monthly devotional and for holiday parties.
I vaguely remember another corridor opposite the hallway leading to the kitchen. It seems like there may have been more vaults down this one, but I was never quite sure and if it was actually there it didn't seem like it was used much.
So work started every day with team prayer. You were on teams. When I worked there I remember two programming teams and another couple teams that did something else with the film that I don't remember. There were also a few people that ran the printers and so in all I think there were only about between 45 or 65 people that actually worked there. I hated and dreaded this team prayer every day. I don't really like praying about working well or fast and praying about it with coworkers doesn't help. (I guess I would have been kicked out if they knew I had that attitude!) They had it at about 8am even though we had to be at work at 7am. I also hated the early hours but I have never been a morning person.
Anyway, there were a few interesting things that happened there. Nothing crazy but still, possibly worth sharing. They always had a devotional every month on the first Monday. A few times one of the 70 came and spoke and gave a lesson. It was interesting, but basically like getting paid for being in church.
Once there was an incident when a friend of mine who was working there (she had not been through the temple and did not wear garments) was leaning over organizing film on a large table. Her shirt came up a little and her skin on her back became visible. She was later reprimanded because a coworker had told the boss that she wasn't being modest. She was very upset and quit not a month later. Obviously the scolding was ridiculous because she was not being immodest or disrespectful on purpose.
Another time when I was assigned to a new workstation, I was talking to a man who worked there. He was a pretty big guy (as in overweight) and worked quite slowly. He told me a little about himself. He said that he had worked there almost 10 years if I remember correctly and that he had 6 or7 kids. (This surprised me that he was doing the same job I was doing because this job only paid about $8.50/hr.) I asked him if he was ok with his job here and he said he was. He said something like, it didn't necessarily pay much, but that he was sure he didn't need more because since he worked for the Lord as his job, his family would be taken care of. (I could not believe that someone could be so stupid.)
There was an older lady who worked there and she was super sweet. She was funny and kind and helpful and interesting. She worked hard and did her job very well. She worked at the vault and for the church corp. for I think about 14 years she said. It could have been more. In any case, she was approaching retirement within a few months. She was excited and couldn't wait to be home with her family and grandkids. She was around 67 I think. (I could be totally off, but I'm pretty sure these details are close if not right on.) So around the time she was putting in her two weeks and arranging to finish up and get her retirement package, etc., things changed and suddenly she was in trouble all the time. She didn't know what was going on or why but one day told me she had figured it out. She told me they were trying to get her fired or to get her to quit before her time was done to keep from giving her retirement. She was super upset during her last few days there and became difficult to work with. (Who wouldn't be!)She told me she just wanted to get done and get out. She did go, but I never found out if she got what she had worked so hard for. She was just out of there on her last day and never looked back.
When working on film, it is really quiet because its hard to talk and concentrate on what you're doing at the same time. I didn't really become close friends with anyone I worked with, so I listened to books on cd with a portable cd player. I listened to about 65 books during my one year of work there. At one point a coworker asked me what I was listening to. This guy was so righteous he made your eyes bleed to look at him. He was irritating in all the ways those type of people are while trying really hard to just be your best bud and make work a good old time! When he asked what I was listening to today I told him and then couldn't wait to hear what he had to say - "I'm listening to Silence of the Lambs", I said. He was shocked and had disapproval all over his face. He said something like, "That movie is rated R isn't it? I'm sure the book probably is." (So passive aggressive.) I said, "I'm sure it is." and kept working. He watched me for a few minutes and I said, "Do you want to borrow it after I'm done? It's a good book. Really creepy." He said no thanks and looked troubled. The next week during our Monday morning team devotional (where someone from the team was picked to read a scripture or give a short message) our team leader - who I really thought was a nice guy - mentioned begrudgingly that we needed to make sure we were listening to uplifting things while we worked. It seemed to me that he didn't really care what anyone listened to on their headphones as long as they did their jobs.
So after working at the vault for about a year, I got another job. I was excited to be done, but also realized I hadn't seen a few things that I had wondered about. They told me when I first started that all the water used in the kitchen and bathrooms was provided by the natural reservoir that was in the back of the vault. I had never seen this and was really curious. I knew I would never have a chance to see it again so on my last day I asked if they would show me and if I could take a few pictures. They said I could as long as I didn't take any pictures of anything else inside the vault on the way to the reservoir door. I agreed and he led me down the long corridor where A through F vaults are located. At the very end was the door that I knew led to the water. He unlocked it and when we went in it was sort of anticlimactic. I was expecting a huge lake or rushing waterfalls or something cool. After I got over the disappointment, it was pretty neat. It was a pool with pumps attached. The pool was probably about 6 feet wide by 10to 15 feet long. It was clean and clear and looked nice but it was basically just functioning in an empty dark holed out area. That part of the vault did not have the corrigated metal walls. It was rough granite through there and that was cool too.
The only other really interesting thing that happened was during the summer that I worked there. A company that was contracted with the church to do some construction in the some of the vaults sent a group of their guys out for about a month or so. I made friends with one of the guys and we chatted during lunch and made small talk when he was hanging around on his breaks. One day during this construction, our team leader told us that for the next couple days we would be taking turns throughout the day to sit outside thedoor of the F vault while the contracted construction guys worked in there. We were told that we needed to just sit out there and could read or listen to our headphones, as long as we made sure no one took anything out of the vault that wasn't their own tools. We agreed and were happy to have a break from programming film.
When it was my turn, I sat on the designated chair and listened to my book and just smiled at the guys as they went in and out. At one point, I realized, this is the vault that has lots of really important stuff in it and tried to peek in. Unfortunately, because of all the construction, every shelf was covered in plastic sheeting and the only thing I saw was a small stack of books (pages side toward me) on a shelf near the door so I couldn't even identify them. I didn't understand at the time that this was THE F VAULT!!! I should have been rummaging through there to find the Hoffman documents or a papyrus or something! Total bummer. When it was over, I went back to my desk and didn't think a thing of it other than, maybe they saw the sword of Laban when they were covering things up. Haha!
So that is about it. Other than those little tidbits, the only other possibly noteworthy things about working there were: it was hard to get a raise and they had a ceiling that I reached during the one year I workedthere. That was a deal breaker (as Liz Lemon would say) for long term employment but they weren't budging as far as raises went.
| I have lots of thoughts on this vault issue and hope I can share some of what I have learned over the years.
The amount of Mormon records available is over whelming, it is staggering. People could spend multiple lifetimes looking at archive material that is easily available. There is huge gold mines of information that are basically being left untouched. I recently visited four archives and have received large qualities of material from three others. Most of this material I had never even heard of six months ago and found huge amounts of information that has blown my socks off. I say this after 25 years of active research.
Just for example: The Arrington collection at USU is one of the greatest collection on Mormon history. There is 400 or 500 boxes just on Mormon related items. The Mike Marquardt collection is second to Arrington with over 400 boxes of Mormon related materials. There is enough in these two collections to keep a person occupied for a life and they are full of mind blowing information. BYU Special Collections has thousands upon thousands of boxes and they are all full of treasures waiting for the young and old to mine. And finally Mike Quinn's collection at Yale has been way under utilized. His has so much good stuff, we need to send an army to mine this collection.
But the real issue here is not the 1st Prez vault, it is the CHL! They have the highly desired William Clayton journals They have them all, sitting on the desks of the JSPP desks. They have the Book of The Law of the Lord that they will not let any scholar outside their little group have access with. They have polygamy records buried in places that people can't see or find. They have the Nauvoo High Council Minutes that they would not let John Dinger have access. They have the George Q. Cannon journals that talk about bribing politicians, that discuss the Hawaiian Missionaries enthusiasm for the young sweet Hawaiian girls, and that discusses the Bullion Beck Mine that was a slush fund for the 1st Pres. They have the inventory for the Joseph Fielding Smith vault, All of this is in their grip and Rick Turley won't allow access to these documents and records. So these are the real people who have our history and not giving access.
Two stories I have recently heard. One is a person who went in and asked if he could see the papyri. The attendant was shocked and said, "we don't even get to see those." The other is Devery Anderson's recent experience. Read this if you want your blood to boil! :sad:
Now, if by chance I am ever given access, :lol: I would love to see the Fifty Nauvoo Minute record. I will remember that this is a copy, and maybe a copy of a copy, since the original was destroyed long ago because Clayton buried it when the Smith's were murdered. The other record we be L. John Nuttall's diary while he was John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff's secretary. These are classified as 1st Prez. Minutes and my guess is they contain all the good stuff during this time. Mike Quinn was able to see at least much of these.
Speaking of Mike. He is the most widely read of ANY Mormon historian. There is no one who can match him of reading primary documents. You can disagree with Mike of historical analysis, bu he is the premiere Mormon historian. I am quite excited his response to Brian has gone viral. I am giddy!
As for Roberts, who is the only Mormon Historian who has read as much as Mike, he was not allowed to see all. Joseph Fielding Smith made sure of that. The Book of Commandments and Revelations that was recently published by the JSPP is an example of one such record.
Lastly, most of the stuff on the list that was in a previous comment in this post, I have seen. So whether it is in the vault or not, it does not matter. It is out.
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