Fether

What is doctrine and what is not?

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In the LDS church, a lot of things been said about a lot of things and many of those things contradict other things. So in this world of many things, what things Are true, and what things are not true things?

Beyond use of the spirit, I have always gone with the idea that any statement with the church's logo stamped on it can be trusted 100% and all other statements, regardless of who said them, are up in the air.

Edited by Fether

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That's a pretty good way to be sure. Generally, I assume anything in the scriptures, taught in General Conference, or included in the church's lesson manuals are doctrine. Anything else I research on my own and trust in the influence of the Holy Ghost to keep me straight.

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IMO, your title and text don't match up.  "Doctrine" is not the same thing as "true".  Doctrine is always true, but not all truth is doctrine (especially when "true" is used as a synonym for "factual").  For example: It is true that I'm wearing shoes right now.  This is not related to doctrine in any way, shape, or form.

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1 minute ago, Midwest LDS said:

That's a pretty good way to be sure. Generally, I assume anything in the scriptures, taught in General Conference, or included in the church's lesson manuals are doctrine. Anything else I research on my own and trust in the influence of the Holy Ghost to keep me straight.

What is taught, even in GC, may well be principle or advice on how to act on doctrine.  It may be based in doctrine, but that doesn't make the entire talk doctrine.  IMO, there's a difference between "doctrine" and "stuff to believe, follow, implement, act on".  I suspect that the Church's educational / lesson material is moving in the direction of helping us understand the difference so that we can be more flexible in the application and principles, without violating doctrine.

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Technically, doctrine simply means a teaching. It can be a true doctrine or a false doctrine. In Church lingo though the word doctrine by itself is understood to mean a true doctrine and one officially recognized by the Church as such. But like @zil pointed out not all truths, even gospel truths, are recognized as official doctrines of the Church. Generally speaking these unofficial truths are not meant for public consumption and should not be taught, as a rule, over the pulpit. Perhaps this talk by Elder Christofferson will help.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-doctrine-of-christ?lang=eng

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When I discuss official doctrine, I normally mean what has been canonized.  Typically that means our four standard works are what I consider LDS doctrine.  We can also include a few things beyond that, but not much.  I'd include manifestos (which are already in the standard works), as well as most probably proclamations (such as the proclamation to the family).  Finally, I'd include the LAST General Conference we had as a current standard work, but not necessarily the one prior to that (the most recent is the relevant one, I suppose one could say).

Beyond that we have beliefs, thoughts, opinions, etc...but if I want to be safe, I stick with the official doctrine/four standard works.

That does not mean that the four standard works compose all of the gospel, or everything that is to be known, it is simply the basic foundation on which the LDS church has all things in common, or all our beliefs SHOULD be in common in regards to the standard works (Bible as long as it's translated correctly, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price).

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On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 8:43 AM, Fether said:

In the LDS church, a lot of things been said about a lot of things and many of those things contradict other things. So in this world of many things, what things Are true, and what things are not true things?

Beyond use of the spirit, I have always gone with the idea that any statement with the church's logo stamped on it can be trusted 100% and all other statements, regardless of who said them, are up in the air.

 

I am convinced that for most - if you do not believe it - it is not doctrine.  And the opposite is true - if you believe it; then it is doctrine.

 

The Traveler

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On 9/12/2017 at 8:43 AM, Fether said:

In the LDS church, a lot of things been said about a lot of things and many of those things contradict other things. So in this world of many things, what things Are true, and what things are not true things?

Beyond use of the spirit, I have always gone with the idea that any statement with the church's logo stamped on it can be trusted 100% and all other statements, regardless of who said them, are up in the air.

Thats a sticky area. We have official doctrine that we should assume is true but it still requires us to search it out and find out ourselves if it is indeed true. But, just because a doctrine may be the official position of the church doesnt mean its "true". Official doctrines can and sometimes do change. So, as for a litmus test of what actually is true, well thats quite difficult. So, we have doctrines and beliefs we hold to be true, or have faith they are true and then there are actual truths. The problem is that, well, for instance- it was once taught that the Holy Ghost was just the mind and will of God and Jesus Christ. Then, the doctrine was adjusted to mean that the Holy Ghost is one distinct personage. But, if that were true then this one personage couldnt really be everywhere at once. Perhaps his influence could be but thats different. This is an example of where belief runs up against what is actual truth and sometimes often enough, the belief may not be true.

In my own studies I am convinced that our picture of heaven as taught in the "plan of salvation" isnt true even though we have an official doctrine and position of belief. Just because its in every manual, taught by leaders, etc, still doesnt make the doctrine truth.

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2017 at 12:27 PM, Rob Osborn said:

Thats a sticky area. We have official doctrine that we should assume is true but it still requires us to search it out and find out ourselves if it is indeed true. But, just because a doctrine may be the official position of the church doesnt mean its "true". Official doctrines can and sometimes do change. So, as for a litmus test of what actually is true, well thats quite difficult. So, we have doctrines and beliefs we hold to be true, or have faith they are true and then there are actual truths. The problem is that, well, for instance- it was once taught that the Holy Ghost was just the mind and will of God and Jesus Christ. Then, the doctrine was adjusted to mean that the Holy Ghost is one distinct personage. But, if that were true then this one personage couldnt really be everywhere at once. Perhaps his influence could be but thats different. This is an example of where belief runs up against what is actual truth and sometimes often enough, the belief may not be true.

In my own studies I am convinced that our picture of heaven as taught in the "plan of salvation" isnt true even though we have an official doctrine and position of belief. Just because its in every manual, taught by leaders, etc, still doesnt make the doctrine truth.

 

I have learned that studying a subject does not make someone an expert – especially if one is dealing with symbolism and metaphors.  For example, I have observed that if someone starts with a false premise that regardless of their studies – they will reach an incorrect conclusion or have elements of incorrectness in their conclusions.

So, I would ask – how do you validate a “picture” of heave?  What could you possibly use to validate that would be guaranteed void of any misleading bias?

 

The Traveler

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57 minutes ago, Traveler said:

 

I have learned that studying a subject does not make someone an expert – especially if one is dealing with symbolism and metaphors.  For example, I have observed that if someone starts with a false premise that regardless of their studies – they will reach an incorrect conclusion or have elements of incorrectness in their conclusions.

So, I would ask – how do you validate a “picture” of heave?  What could you possibly use to validate that would be guaranteed void of any misleading bias?

 

The Traveler

Thats a hard thing to answer because most would remain of the idea a result wasnt biased. Almost everyone has a certain bias in regards to what they think heaven is and how the plan of salvation works.

However, if one starts out and builds a solid framework from the scriptures step by step its not long before a true picture starts to form which stands in contradiction to what we believe. The problem isnt from my side, having no bias, its from the official position side having a weighed bias. That bias has paramount contradictions that almost everyone will overlook because they are comfortable with the fuzzy picture built in place to this point.

Validation is the process of showing the contradiction. But, convincing others it is a contradiction is impossible because they cant take off their biased goggles.

Edited by Rob Osborn

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15 hours ago, Rob Osborn said:

Thats a hard thing to answer because most would remain of the idea a result wasnt biased. Almost everyone has a certain bias in regards to what they think heaven is and how the plan of salvation works.

However, if one starts out and builds a solid framework from the scriptures step by step its not long before a true picture starts to form which stands in contradiction to what we believe. The problem isnt from my side, having no bias, its from the official position side having a weighed bias. That bias has paramount contradictions that almost everyone will overlook because they are comfortable with the fuzzy picture built in place to this point.

Validation is the process of showing the contradiction. But, convincing others it is a contradiction is impossible because they cant take off their biased goggles.

According to my understanding - heaven is what we make in our preparations for eternity and the best example or demonstration of our heaven is our Sabbath day. 

 

The Traveler 

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10 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Debatable.

The true doctrine of Christ is always true. Generic "doctrine" is not.

It's a definition matter that spans a fairly wide spectrum.

Perhaps I should be more clear and say that to me, "Doctrine" is defined by God, not by the world - the world may call something "doctrine", but that doesn't mean it is.  Another of those threads where we should have started with a definition, I guess.  If relying on a modern English dictionary, then, yeah, not everything called doctrine is true (nor is it actually doctrine).

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54 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

I'll offer a different link from the church instead. This is found on one of the church's official websites, mormonnewsroom.org : Approaching Mormon Doctrine

Look, everybody!  It's Needle! :D

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12 hours ago, Traveler said:

According to my understanding - heaven is what we make in our preparations for eternity and the best example or demonstration of our heaven is our Sabbath day. 

 

The Traveler 

I guess thats one way of looking at it. I picture heaven a bit different, but its okay.

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On 9/14/2017 at 12:13 AM, JohnsonJones said:

When I discuss official doctrine, I normally mean what has been canonized.  Typically that means our four standard works are what I consider LDS doctrine.  We can also include a few things beyond that, but not much.  I'd include manifestos (which are already in the standard works), as well as most probably proclamations (such as the proclamation to the family).  Finally, I'd include the LAST General Conference we had as a current standard work, but not necessarily the one prior to that (the most recent is the relevant one, I suppose one could say).

Beyond that we have beliefs, thoughts, opinions, etc...but if I want to be safe, I stick with the official doctrine/four standard works.

That does not mean that the four standard works compose all of the gospel, or everything that is to be known, it is simply the basic foundation on which the LDS church has all things in common, or all our beliefs SHOULD be in common in regards to the standard works (Bible as long as it's translated correctly, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price).

I almost fully agree with this.  However, I make a couple of delineations:

The manifesto notes... was written by Wilford Woodruff.  And the idea that "The Lord would remove me from my place if I were to lead this church astray" is contrary to the Lord's own words in D&C 1:24-28.

24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.

The Lord knows that His servants will make errors.  The "excerpts from three addresses by President Wilford Woodruff regarding the manifesto" helps to SUPPORT OD1, but I don't think they're scripture.  My covenants are made with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit... I'll stick to the Lord's voice in this instance.  This is MY opinion on this and may not reflect the Church's official thoughts or anyone else.

Also, chapter headings and footnotes are valuable study helps, but that's what they are - study helps.  They are not doctrine in and of themselves. 
The Song of Solomon was noted in the JST version that "the JST manuscript states that 'The Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings.'

Everything else... is good for edification and instruction, but it may not necessarily be doctrine.  The notion that there is a Heavenly Mother is not official doctrine, but it has been talked about so much that it might as well be.  (I do believe this, even if it's not "official doctrine".)  There are other things that may or may not be true.  But I wouldn't ask for an official proclamation over everything.  We are blessed with intelligence.  We are expected to use it.

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2 hours ago, skippy740 said:

And the idea that "The Lord would remove me from my place if I were to lead this church astray" is contrary to the Lord's own words in D&C 1:24-28...The Lord knows that His servants will make errors.

I disagree. The two are perfectly compatible. Making errors is much different from leading the Church astray. Quick example: I served an 18-month mission, because that is how long the First Presidency decided men's missions would be in the early 1980s. A few years later, they put them back to two years. Was it an error? In a way I think it was; it was an experiment that didn't pan out. President Kimball tried something bold, it didn't work, and President Benson changed it back to how it was before. And yet, despite the "error", the Church wasn't led astray. Several tens of thousands of men served shorter missions than they otherwise would have. I trust that whatever experiences and growth I may have missed in my "lost" six months, the Lord has seen fit to make up to me. Because the mission wasn't for me, anyway; it was for service to others.

Imperfect men making sometimes imperfect decisions doesn't lead the Church astray. I'm confident that was President Woodruff's meaning.

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Matters of church policy aren't necessarily matters of doctrine.  18-months vs 2 year missions... the principle behind them are the same, regardless of the length of service.  (Although I find it curious that when the 18-year old missionary cut-off age was announced as a possibility, it has been interpreted as commandment.)

The relationship between errors vs sins vs transgressions would seem to fit here.  Official declaration 1 was about doctrine and how we practiced it, and how we interpret a prophet's words and the warnings behind those words.  The manifesto was supplemental information to official declaration 1.

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15 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

I'll offer a different link from the church instead. This is found on one of the church's official websites, mormonnewsroom.org : Approaching Mormon Doctrine

It appears they say basically what I said, but trying to clarify it more so those who would take any statement by a prophet or general authority will not mistake that those statements necessarily represent the LDS doctrine.

Quote

Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.

 

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6 hours ago, skippy740 said:

Official declaration 1 was about doctrine and how we practiced it, and how we interpret a prophet's words and the warnings behind those words.  The manifesto was supplemental information to official declaration 1.

Sorry, skippy, I'm not understanding your point very well. I think I agree with the above. I don't see what that has to do with a prophet not being allowed to lead the Church astray, and I'm not sure what "doctrine vs. policy" has to do with anything. Do you think that President Woodruff led the Church astray, even in a small way? I assume you do not believe this, but then I don't understand what you're referring to. If you can unconfuse me, that would be great.

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Church culture has led members to believe that prophets are perfect because of that quote.  No, I do not believe that President Woodruff led the church astray as the manifesto quotes were about trying to reassure members of the consequences of not following and conforming to the new laws of the land.  Remember that these members were willing to be imprisoned for their faith and their families.  Yet, many left the faith as they couldn't reconcile how a current prophet can both be right and contradict/correct from a previous prophet.  While we still believe the doctrine behind the New and Everlasting Covenant, it is not practiced today.  That's how we can delineate between policy and doctrine.  Doctrines are everlasting and constant, while policies can change.  The same could be said for OD2 because it took revelation to correct/contradict from a previous prophet and each prophet since that time.

As such, that's why I believe that this is the True and Living Church... I interpret 'True' to be a verb - that we are constantly trying to 'true' ourselves to the mind and will of the Lord.  Only a Church with continuing revelation can do that.  

Will we see more changes?  Maybe.  I can't see where and how, unless there's some new revelation about the Plan of Salvation and how it could apply to same-sex couples (which would contradict what we currently know).

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3 hours ago, skippy740 said:

Church culture has led members to believe that prophets are perfect

I do not believe this.  I have never met anyone who believes or heard anyone say that prophets are perfect.  

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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