Reading historical documents without understanding the culture and circumstances in which the actors lived, will often lead us to wrong conclusions. This applies to Old Testament, New Testament, and anything written further back than about … two weeks. (Presentism and literalism will be address in another post.)
In the LDS church we have a unique challenge.
The Mormon church was founded recently, less than 200 years ago. By religious standards, we are the new kids. At of the time of the “restoration” paper was cheap, literacy was high, and the making and distribution of records was relatively easy. Consequently, the messiness of church-building is well recorded in journals and printed records; mistakes, contention, turmoil, and flaws are readily evident.
Other faith traditions may not have any significant history, since they were established only a few years ago as an isolated congregation. Or, they are ancient organizations whose old problems have become faded and even adopted as part of their historical journey towards a better faith.