I think Darius Gray has a lot to teach us about grappling with messy history. Even though his comment below specifically had to do with past institutional racism, I think it can be applied to any number of topics, such as those being addressed because of recent LDS church essays. This particular comment was buried deep in a "Times and Seasons" blog post from 2006 (comment #110 to be exact) on a post entitled "We have nothing to apologize for but we should do it anyway". The link I originally saved appears to no longer be accessible:
Please reread my comments. Nowhere have I asked for an apology, let alone demanded one. Frankly, an apology isn’t that important to me but an acknowledgment of our past and the issues which have resulted is important. Our focus should be on the here and now — but with an eye to the future. I fully agree with those who say we cannot go back and change our history but we should be able to look at it honestly and learn the lessons it offers.
The concern expressed in my earlier response was because of the apparent dichotomy of applying one standard if the aggrieved party was the institutional Church and a different standard if the aggrieved party was someone injured by the institutional Church. It is part of our church culture to remember the harsh treatment given the early members while they were in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. We find it appropriate to remember those wrongs but wince when asked to look inward. Brothers and Sisters THAT is inconsistent. As Christians we are to embrace all truth not just the convenient truth. Whether the injustices done at Mountain Meadows or the insensitivities shown persons of color the issue isn’t about finding fault but about learning to be better. As I understand the task, that can come through open and honest examination done in a Christ centered way.
For those who feel you are defending the Church please know you are not alone. I have defended it for nearly 42 years and have zero interest in causing any harm. Again, I seek no apology nor have I ever — nor do I see myself standing in some future judgment of others for their past wrongs. However, I do hope that we, as an institution and as individuals, can come to understand that false teachings are still very much with us and that it is required of us to seek truth — and to speak truth.