Today I read section 47 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is a very brief section and doesn't really cover very much, but it does cover something very important. It was a revelation given to John Whitmer about what he should be doing for the church. It seems rather interesting to me that John Whitmer needed a revelation before he would accept an appointment to the position of church historian. Perhaps it's just me, but to me that kind of makes me feel like he didn't want to do it.
However, he stated that he would obey the will of the Lord in the matter and thus this revelation came about. He did not refute the need for a historian but rather it more seems like he didn't want to be that historian. From what I remember of my church history though he did a fantastic job as the historian of the church.
History is a funny thing. You can never have a truly unbiased history, it's just not possible because it is going to be written by someone who took part in it, or watched it unfold but even they are almost always biased in some way, either they are partial to the one party or the other, etc. But, history is necessary. Without it we cannot learn about what has gone on before and all humans have an inborn desire to know the things of the past.
History is especially important to the religious for several reasons. First and foremost, scripture is history. Look at the Book of Mormon, the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants. Take the Dead Sea scrolls for example, they were scrolls written by people in Abraham's time, and some by Abraham if I remember MY history correctly. But the ancient prophets and apostles recorded their history and that is a huge chunk of what we consider to be scripture today. Kind of puts your own journal into perspective and what it might mean some day, doesn't it?
Some have said that if we do not learn from our history then we are doomed to repeat it. I say that if we do not read our history, we cannot know our future. The scriptures were given in ancient days for us, so that we might be prepared for the future, both our own individual future and the future of all mankind. The scriptures are meant to be a help to us and to help us prepare to meet God and remind us of our divine potential. That is why so many people when they hear the Gospel says that it sounds so familiar. It's because it resonates with the Spirit inside each of us and reminds us of what our goals should be. We should center our focus on Christ and the things of the Spirit. For that is what the scriptures were intended to do from the beginning. And that is why we need to read them everyday. We are strangers in a strange land and need the boost to overcome the things of this world. The scriptures provide a strength that you just can't get any place else or from anything else. They are like our spiritual clothing and just like your physical clothing you shouldn't go outside your home, or really even in your home, without it! Until tomorrow.