| I had no idea that this was the real purpose of the prophet series of lesson manuals
I read the 500 page Doctoral Dissertation written by Daymon Smith, mentioned in a thread by Nick Humphrey yesterday.
It was long, and hard to get through, but helped answer a question I had about how the LDS church manages to indoctrinate so well. How was I indoctrinated, and inoculated against hearing the truth, so well that I didn't even notice it?
It pretty much boils down to the correlation dept. ramrodded by Harold B. Lee in the sixties. In my nieve state as a TBMish member, I couldn't see anything wrong with correlation, didn't it make sense to make sure that everything was conforming with the truth?
What it really does is stamp out unproved views, even if the view used to be "the truth". Those prophet lesson manuals were made to try to make current church views seem like the old LDS views.
Daymon Smith points out that it's real job is "To generate historically contrived, but presently acceptable, seemingly historically rooted manuals. History could thus be made familiarized, and change erased."
Correlation makes a committee to make a particular prophets manual, gives them direction on what concepts or chapter headings to find quotes for, then edits it. What it really does, is take modern LDS theology, finds quotes that could perhaps even be taken out of context, and makes it seem like that particular prophet agreed.
Then if the source of the quote was either too easy to find and then be able to see the real intent, or if it was from a currently unapproved source like the Journal Of Discourses, they'd look for a Deseret News story from back in the day that mentions it, and reference the Deseret News. It would be easier for people to find a Journal Of Discourses entry, than to find a Deseret News article from the 1800's. A pretty underhanded way to make it hard to find out what the prophet was really saying.
So the point of those manuals was to make it so that in today's members minds, the church has always taught the same thing, and it just seamlessly marches along. They make it seem as though all the prophets operated under the correlation department, even though they didn't.
Then they hire researchers to survey people after a particular manual is used, to see if it met the objectives of the correlation department, or if it missed the mark. It is carefully, scientifically engineered deception, but people read the lessons as though it is a matter of fact presentation of church history and fact.
It's a beautiful plan. Every Sunday for a decade I was being purposely deceived and given a sanitized, deceptive, changed history of what the past prophets taught. It was spoon fed to me in such a way that I didn't notice. It just felt like all the prophets agreed with what I was seeing in the modern church. They had quotes proving it!
Another thing that reading that Dissertation showed me was how a strong armed guy in the big 12 can bully their way into what they want. Pres McKay wanted caution with how much power to give the correlation department, and Lee bulldozed it through anyway.
Lee was smart enough to think that there was a need to indoctrinate people, and that it could be best done in a very systematic manner church wide. It works brilliantly, and most don't even notice that it's happening. Lee was brilliant in that regard. It works on millions.