A friend asked, “Say, has anyone else noticed that these essays are not being translated into other languages and posted on the LDS Church’s websites in other languages?”
I suppose you could say that it takes time to translate things, but these are relatively short essays, and the church has had plenty of lead time. Had they wanted to translate them, they could have released the translated versions simultaneously with the English versions of the essays.
But there’s a reason they haven’t. Most likely, as my friend puts it, it’s in English only because
… it’s frantic triage directed specifically at Americans because very little of the damning historical material has been translated into other languages. This would be more convincing as a new type of good faith Glasnost if Italian members were given these essays even though there is no MormonThink or Signature Books in Italian.
A unilateral attempt to be transparent and open would involve exposing all members of the LDS church to this material. That it’s been published only in English–and you can only find it by directly linking to each essay–suggests that this material is intended to help the church reassert some control over a message that is currently being driven by multitudes of sources on the Internet. As I mentioned before, the problem is that many of those random Internet sites out there provide the source material in whole and in context. As I noted the other day, the church’s essays spin, deflect, and bury primary sources under references to apologetic works such as those of Brian Hales. And sometimes they even misuse sources to support a thesis contrary to the facts.
So, yes, like my friend, I’ll congratulate the church on its openness when it translates this material into the major languages spoken within the church. Then again, the translated material is still highly spun and occasionally dishonest. So, I’ll hold off on the congratulations.