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I have seen several post on social media that the Doctrine of God changes, and the only evidence I see posted is the change in the priesthood ban and stopping the practice of polygamy. I have been trying to study these and I cannot see how doctrine was changed. What am I missing?

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9 minutes ago, unixknight said:

Those aren't examples of doctrinal change, but rather changes in policy and/or procedure.  Those things have changed for thousands of  years, but the doctrine remains the same.

That's what I thought, Thanks!!

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2 hours ago, Nacho2Dope said:

I have seen several post on social media that the Doctrine of God changes, and the only evidence I see posted is the change in the priesthood ban and stopping the practice of polygamy. I have been trying to study these and I cannot see how doctrine was changed. What am I missing?

As @unixknight specifies, they are confusing doctrine with policy/program changes.

Easy example is polygamy. The doctrine of polygamy is that of a man taking more than one wife, if God commands it. The practice of polygamy is at the will of God and can be commanded to do so or not to do so at any time. The doctrine doesn't change with the practice or non-practice. It remains what it is.

Now doctrinal changes. The doctrine is that Christ is the only name under heaven whereby we can be saved. Then if the Church were to teach that someone else besides Christ could save us, well then, you now have a doctrinal change. That is extreme.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Nacho2Dope said:

I have seen several post on social media that the Doctrine of God changes, and the only evidence I see posted is the change in the priesthood ban and stopping the practice of polygamy. I have been trying to study these and I cannot see how doctrine was changed. What am I missing?

His doctrine does not change...

HOWEVER...

What has been taught in the CHURCH as doctrine HAS changed.  Showing the evidence of this may not be accepted in the best way here...however.  When I say what has been taugh in the church as doctrine has changed, it does not mean doctrine itself has changed.  It merely means teachings have changed, which basically boils down to policies dealing with different aspects of faith has changed.

The best reason for those who are believing members is to understand that the leaders of the church are still men.  We do not believe they are infallible.  This means at times that their own personal biases, agendas, beliefs, ideas, and other aspects of their person impact what they present.  If one has a testimony of simply the church many times when they find out the changes that have occurred because of these fallible individuals, they lose all testimony and fall away.  We should not have a testimony in the ideas of men, but in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A testimony built on Jesus Christ and his gospel will never fail.

The Gospel itself does not change, but the teachings that the church may interpret or consider might be influenced by our leaders personal ideas on the matter.  Some say (I don't, but some) that this is the reason why the Priesthood ban occurred.  The Church has had an essay on it's site which basically blames the personal biases and racist attitudes for the perpetuation of the ban.  This does not mean that the doctrine of the Lord has changed, but how it was taught by various leaders.  In George Albert Smith's time they actually issued a proclamation (similar to our Proclamation to the Family) that the Priesthood Ban WAS official and would not change.

Obviously, we see that it HAS changed. 

We see this in various other aspects of what the church taught previously and what it teaches now.

Another example that has occurred more recently is that the Church taught that women are helpmeets to their husbands.  This also meant that the husband was the head of the home and that he represented the home to the Lord.  In the same way that the Lord represented his family and could bring them to heaven, so could a Father and husband bring his wife and children. 

This has changed (most notably in instances which I am unable to address here) and rather than certain things proceeding through a husband, these specific items are now directly between a woman and the Lord.  This of course is a direct contradiction to many of the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, and if you believe them, even Paul the apostle from the New Testament (so a VERY LONG history of this thing that was taught as doctrine which has recently changed).

What does this mean?

It does not mean that the doctrine has changed, but the way things are taught has changed as per the biases and ideas of men who are our leaders.  Things of the Lord DO NOT CHANGE...not from the Old Testament to the New Testament (where the laws are not done away, but instead we see a higher manifestation thereof...thus instead of simply no murder, we should not even call our brother a fool, or instead of no adultery we should not even look upon another member of the opposite sex with lust...and many other laws which if we keep we will in no way break the ten commandments or some of the other lower laws)...and not from the New Testament to today.

Thus, the Doctrine, the true doctrine, NEVER changes.

Policies that try to enforce that doctrine or teach that doctrine CHANGE.  They are as erratic as the wind and thus what may be taught by MEN as doctrine three years ago will be changed in an instant.  This is why some talk about policy vs. doctrine.  Even in instances where policy maybe taught as doctrine in the past (such as the Priesthood ban) and things that might be changeable today that is taught as doctrine, are actually simply things based on policies and interpretation relevant to our modern day.

Doctrine itself is hard to define for some.

I personally identify doctrine as that found in the four standard works of the Church.  That is the most immoveable and the sturdiest foundation.  Everything else apparently can change as per the whims of the day.  They are interpretation and policies that work to teach that of the scriptures and the ordinances for salvation. 

Others may have other ideas of doctrine. 

The basic idea I would think Doctrine of the Lord has is based on commentary by Joseph Fielding Smith that has shaped my own ideas.  In this, if something goes contrary to what is taught in the Book of Mormon, the correct translations of the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price it probably is NOT doctrine.  If it is something that has changed several times in the past of church history, the current item is probably NOT doctrine and more a matter of policy.  Thus, policies change.  Doctrine does not.

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Here is a verse of scripture for you, "Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good;" There are progressive members who like to think that anytime they disagree with a revelation from the brethren, and the brethren make a change it is because the brethren were wrong (fallible), and yet as we can see from scripture the Lord will command and the Lord will revoke at his will and pleasure, which has nothing to do with the weakness of his servants the prophets.

It would be similar to people during Moses time who made a prophecy, the will of the Lord, that the children of Israel would be brought to a promised land. Were they brought to a promise land? No (not for many years later until that generation died who were promised). Progressive members today, if alive during Moses time, would say something to this nature, "Moses is fallible, and he made a mistake. I didn't agree with his decision 100%, and I knew I was right, thus the change." They erroneously believe in their own self-fulfilled prophecy.

Edited by Anddenex

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2 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

Here is a verse of scripture for you, "Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good;" There are progressive members who like to think that anytime they disagree with a revelation from the brethren, and the brethren make a change it is because the brethren were wrong (fallible), and yet as we can see from scripture the Lord will command and the Lord will revoke at his will and pleasure, which has nothing to do with the weakness of his servants the prophets.

It would be similar to people during Moses time who made a prophecy, the will of the Lord, that the children of Israel would be brought to a promised land. Were they brought to a promise land? No (not for many years later until that generation died who were promised). Progressive members today, if alive during Moses time, would say something to this nature, "Moses is fallible, and he made a mistake. I didn't agree with his decision 100%, and I knew I was right, thus the change." They erroneously believe in their own self-fulfilled prophecy.

I'm not sure if I understand exactly.  Moses WAS fallible.  One item that the church has taught in the past was pertaining to Moses.  The reason Moses did not get to go into the Promised land was due to his own fallibilities which made him claim things of the Lord as things he did.  Thus (though it was also taught that he was Translated), he joined the rest of the children of Israel who also did not see the promised land while in this mortality.

We are NOT Catholics.  We do NOT believe in the infallibility of any of our leaders.  We do not believe in the infallibility of the Pope.  We do not believe in the infallibility of a prophet or apostles.  Indeed, the church itself points out these fallibilities on it's own sites.

It is upon this problem of infallibility that these discussions of changing doctrine even arise.  Critics of the church would like to claim that we believe that our prophets and apostles are infallible, and as such, any changes in what is taught as doctrine is proof that the church cannot be true.  They use this concept of infallibility and teach it that this is what we believe.  It is not.  We do not teach such things.  In comparison to fallibility however, I think it would be more like Jonah or Balaam in the Old Testament or Peter or Paul in the New Testament. 

Even today many point out what they perceive as the errors of Peter in the New Testament.  They point out to how he had the denial of the Lord, his faltering on walking on water, his difficulty accepting Gentiles as Christians even to the point of him and Paul's discussions.  However, Peter was the head of the church after the Lord ascended to heaven.  He was perhaps one of the mightiest prophets in the Bible.  He actually WALKED on water for a little bit.  That shows that he had FAR more faith than anyone I've ever known.  He had prisons fall and healed the sick.  I do not think Peter was infallible, but he was the chosen of the Lord.  He was probably closer to the Lord than just about anyone else who has lived on this earth. Any who were Christian would need to follow Peter and his statements despite what they may have felt of his fallibilities.  He not only knew the Lord personally, but was trying to do as best he could to lead the church.  

In that same light, against what the Anti-Mormons teach, we do NOT teach that our leaders are infallible.  We do NOT teach that they are perfect or that everything they say is doctrine.  We teach that they are men and as men, they have opinions, bias's and beliefs. 

What we do teach is that we should FOLLOW the prophet.  Even if the prophet makes mistakes, in our present day, he is still the leader of the church and the mouth piece of the Lord.  Just as Peter was the Leader and led the church, so do our leaders today.  We need to listen to what they state as they are our guides.  President Faust stated...

Quote

We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators. Yet I humbly state that I have sat in the company of these men, and I believe their greatest desire is to know and do the will of our Heavenly Father. Those who sit in the highest councils of this church and have participated as inspiration has come and decisions have been reached know that this light and truth is beyond human intelligence and reasoning. These deep, divine impressions have come as the dews from heaven and settled upon them individually and collectively. So inspired, we can go forward in complete unity and accord.

I witness humbly that I know the Lord still guides his church through his servants, regardless of any individual imperfections. I pray that we may be responsive to his Spirit and be found listening to the oracles he has appointed. I so pray because I know that we mortals, without the aid of revelation, cannot know the purposes of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Continuous Revelation

Just as a guide can make mistakes, so can our leaders.  However, a guide normally still knows the way FAR better than we do and does not try to lead one astray.  In fact, even if they make slight mistakes a good guide will be able to lead us to where one needs to go.  If one leaves the guide the chances of them getting lost or otherwise increases tremendously.  Sticking with the guide is normally the best choice as that will normally lead one to safety and the way they need to go.

approaching doctrine mormon newsroom

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.
  • Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. The mistake that public commentators often make is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center. This is especially common among reporters or researchers who rely on how other Christians interpret Latter-day Saint doctrine.

Brigham Young also stated...

Quote

I am … afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates. 7

Once again, we do not teach that leaders are infallible.  We DO teach that we need to follow those leaders and we are much safer by following their dictates and statements than if we follow those of other men in this world of sin and chaos.

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12 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

The Gospel itself does not change, but the teachings that the church may interpret or consider might be influenced by our leaders personal ideas on the matter.  Some say (I don't, but some) that this is the reason why the Priesthood ban occurred.  The Church has had an essay on it's site which basically blames the personal biases and racist attitudes for the perpetuation of the ban.  This does not mean that the doctrine of the Lord has changed, but how it was taught by various leaders.  In George Albert Smith's time they actually issued a proclamation (similar to our Proclamation to the Family) that the Priesthood Ban WAS official and would not change.

@JohnsonJones, I think I agree with your overall thesis that some of the things various Church leaders (or clusters of Church leaders) have carelessly labeled as “doctrine” didn’t quite rise to that level.  But the above is not true, on two counts.  First, the 1949 statement did indeed acknowledge that the policy would eventually change (although, granted, the projected circumstances under which that  was to happen seem to have been erroneous).  Second, the Gospel Topics essay does contextualize the policy in a cultural milieu, but does not state or suggest that Young, Smith, McKay, Hinckley, et al were lying when they described the policy as of divine origin.  Indeed, the essay notes that McKay asked God for permission to revoke the ban and was denied.  

32 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

I'm not sure if I understand exactly.  Moses WAS fallible.  One item that the church has taught in the past was pertaining to Moses.  The reason Moses did not get to go into the Promised land was due to his own fallibilities which made him claim things of the Lord as things he did.  Thus (though it was also taught that he was Translated), he joined the rest of the children of Israel who also did not see the promised land while in this mortality.

We are NOT Catholics.  We do NOT believe in the infallibility of any of our leaders.  We do not believe in the infallibility of the Pope.  We do not believe in the infallibility of a prophet or apostles.  Indeed, the church itself points out these fallibilities on it's own sites.

It is upon this problem of infallibility that these discussions of changing doctrine even arise.  Critics of the church would like to claim that we believe that our prophets and apostles are infallible, and as such, any changes in what is taught as doctrine is proof that the church cannot be true.  They use this concept of infallibility and teach it that this is what we believe.  It is not.  We do not teach such things.  In comparison to fallibility however, I think it would be more like Jonah or Balaam in the Old Testament or Peter or Paul in the New Testament. 

Even today many point out what they perceive as the errors of Peter in the New Testament.  They point out to how he had the denial of the Lord, his faltering on walking on water, his difficulty accepting Gentiles as Christians even to the point of him and Paul's discussions.  However, Peter was the head of the church after the Lord ascended to heaven.  He was perhaps one of the mightiest prophets in the Bible.  He actually WALKED on water for a little bit.  That shows that he had FAR more faith than anyone I've ever known.  He had prisons fall and healed the sick.  I do not think Peter was infallible, but he was the chosen of the Lord.  He was probably closer to the Lord than just about anyone else who has lived on this earth. Any who were Christian would need to follow Peter and his statements despite what they may have felt of his fallibilities.  He not only knew the Lord personally, but was trying to do as best he could to lead the church.  

In that same light, against what the Anti-Mormons teach, we do NOT teach that our leaders are infallible.  We do NOT teach that they are perfect or that everything they say is doctrine.  We teach that they are men and as men, they have opinions, bias's and beliefs. 

What we do teach is that we should FOLLOW the prophet.  Even if the prophet makes mistakes, in our present day, he is still the leader of the church and the mouth piece of the Lord.  Just as Peter was the Leader and led the church, so do our leaders today.  We need to listen to what they state as they are our guides.  President Faust stated...

Continuous Revelation

Just as a guide can make mistakes, so can our leaders.  However, a guide normally still knows the way FAR better than we do and does not try to lead one astray.  In fact, even if they make slight mistakes a good guide will be able to lead us to where one needs to go.  If one leaves the guide the chances of them getting lost or otherwise increases tremendously.  Sticking with the guide is normally the best choice as that will normally lead one to safety and the way they need to go.

approaching doctrine mormon newsroom

Brigham Young also stated...

Once again, we do not teach that leaders are infallible.  We DO teach that we need to follow those leaders and we are much safer by following their dictates and statements than if we follow those of other men in this world of sin and chaos.

Leaders individually can certainly err.  The salient question is the degree to which the leaders collectively err (via, e.g., pronouncements or policies promulgated through the entire 1st Presidency and/or Quorum of the Twelve).  President Uchtdorf seems to think that they don’t:  

Quote

This is the Church of Jesus Christ. God will not allow His Church to drift from its appointed course or fail to fulfill its divine destiny.

 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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29 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

I'm not sure if I understand exactly.  Moses WAS fallible.  One item that the church has taught in the past was pertaining to Moses.  The reason Moses did not get to go into the Promised land was due to his own fallibilities which made him claim things of the Lord as things he did.  Thus (though it was also taught that he was Translated), he joined the rest of the children of Israel who also did not see the promised land while in this mortality.

If you reread my comment I did not mention that Moses was not human, without weakness. My comment directly stated that progressive members assume that all change they do not agree with are due to a prophet's weakness. This is FALSE. The scripture I provided gives evidence to that.

The bolded statement is false. Moses did not enter the promised the land because the children of Israel were disobedient and the Lord removed Moses from their midst. Modern revelation provides the following statement, "Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;" (emphasis mine)

Moses was removed from the children of Israel (as a result of their disobedience, not Moses's) and he was translated, which took him to a much more favored promised land (and probably more than what he even saw for himself -- he entered the spiritual promised land -- much greater than an earthly promised land and that is not the result of disobedience).

Quote

We are NOT Catholics.  We do NOT believe in the infallibility of any of our leaders.  We do not believe in the infallibility of the Pope.  We do not believe in the infallibility of a prophet or apostles.  Indeed, the church itself points out these fallibilities on it's own sites.

This goes without saying. I never said anything about us being any other religion.

Quote

It is upon this problem of infallibility that these discussions of changing doctrine even arise.  Critics of the church would like to claim that we believe that our prophets and apostles are infallible, and as such, any changes in what is taught as doctrine is proof that the church cannot be true.  They use this concept of infallibility and teach it that this is what we believe.  It is not.  We do not teach such things.  In comparison to fallibility however, I think it would be more like Jonah or Balaam in the Old Testament or Peter or Paul in the New Testament. 

Thus the crutch of my point. Progressive members also like to say if there is a change it is because the prophets are fallible. And they use this as a reason to go to social media to say, "You see the prophets were wrong, they are fallible, and I knew what they said [insert how many years ago] was wrong. And this change proves it. I was right and the prophets were wrong." Thus the scripture verse shared that not every change is because of the mistake or fallibility of prophets, ""Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good;"

Thus the last statement, progressive members erroneously  believe in their own self-fulfilled prophecy.

Quote

Even today many point out what they perceive as the errors of Peter in the New Testament.  They point out to how he had the denial of the Lord, his faltering on walking on water, his difficulty accepting Gentiles as Christians even to the point of him and Paul's discussions.  However, Peter was the head of the church after the Lord ascended to heaven.  He was perhaps one of the mightiest prophets in the Bible.  He actually WALKED on water for a little bit.  That shows that he had FAR more faith than anyone I've ever known.  He had prisons fall and healed the sick.  I do not think Peter was infallible, but he was the chosen of the Lord.  He was probably closer to the Lord than just about anyone else who has lived on this earth. Any who were Christian would need to follow Peter and his statements despite what they may have felt of his fallibilities.  He not only knew the Lord personally, but was trying to do as best he could to lead the church.  

In that same light, against what the Anti-Mormons teach, we do NOT teach that our leaders are infallible.  We do NOT teach that they are perfect or that everything they say is doctrine.  We teach that they are men and as men, they have opinions, bias's and beliefs. 

What we do teach is that we should FOLLOW the prophet.  Even if the prophet makes mistakes, in our present day, he is still the leader of the church and the mouth piece of the Lord.  Just as Peter was the Leader and led the church, so do our leaders today.  We need to listen to what they state as they are our guides.  President Faust stated...

Continuous Revelation

Just as a guide can make mistakes, so can our leaders.  However, a guide normally still knows the way FAR better than we do and does not try to lead one astray.  In fact, even if they make slight mistakes a good guide will be able to lead us to where one needs to go.  If one leaves the guide the chances of them getting lost or otherwise increases tremendously.  Sticking with the guide is normally the best choice as that will normally lead one to safety and the way they need to go.

approaching doctrine mormon newsroom

Brigham Young also stated...

Once again, we do not teach that leaders are infallible.  We DO teach that we need to follow those leaders and we are much safer by following their dictates and statements than if we follow those of other men in this world of sin and chaos.

I am aware of what is taught.

Edited by Anddenex

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Doctrine?  It is my opinion that focus on doctrine is a bad idea (an alternate term for bad doctrine).  I find it interesting that so many think of "truth" in terms of doctrine - apostasy is thought of in terms of "false" doctrine.  Isaiah defined apostasy as three legs of a stool - #1 (first leg) Apostasy is a breaking of The Law.  #2 (second leg) Apostasy is changing the Ordinances.  #3 (third leg) Apostasy is breaking the Everlasting Covenant.

As mortal humans we communicate with language and words.   Language and words are symbols of thoughts and ideas.  But becoming a Saint of G-d is not ideas, thoughts or even words.  It is an evolution from our fallen state to a divine attitude and G-dly behavior.  And yet here I am spewing out words in hope of sparking thoughts and ideas that will change behaviors.  If the thoughts and ideas do not change behavior can we assume that there has been communication?

Please note that I used the term (word) evolve.  I do not believe we (or G-d) wave a magic wand and we become Saints.  No! we evolve.  We learn line upon line upon line and precept upon precept upon precept.  I do not believe this is just an individual process.  I believe at the smallest spiritual quantum sub atomic particle of divine reality - that our behavior must be blended (sealed) in marriage and then families (which is the core of the Everlasting Covenant).

If we are not strengthening marriages and families – our doctrine is FALSE and we fail.  We must evolve and become better husbands and wives – then better fathers and mothers.  We must evolve to inspire and help others be better husbands and wives and then better fathers and mothers.

We are in conflict (war) that begun eons ago and we must WORK to preserve fathers and mothers, husbands and wives and children - to become husbands and wives and fathers and mothers.  It is the great conflict of light and darkness – let us not find ourselves fighting on the WRONG side.  Let us keep the law and preserve the ordinances.  Let doctrine take care of itself.  (or as Christ said – let the dead bury the dead).

 

The Traveler

  

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3 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Here is a verse of scripture for you, "Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good;" There are progressive members who like to think that anytime they disagree with a revelation from the brethren, and the brethren make a change it is because the brethren were wrong (fallible), and yet as we can see from scripture the Lord will command and the Lord will revoke at his will and pleasure, which has nothing to do with the weakness of his servants the prophets.

At the risk of being inflammatory.... So we will replace, "Maybe our prophets/leaders make mistakes" with, "Maybe God is capricious" (or at least seems capricious to mortal eyes)?

I will have to think more on what I think about this. Is it necessarily either/or? Could it be both/and? Our leaders are fallible and God does appear to make changes for reasons we don't discern? And we won't always know when something happens because our leaders are fallible and when God is exercising His prerogative to change programs/policies/commandments as seemeth Him good?

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3 hours ago, Anddenex said:

If you reread my comment I did not mention that Moses was not human, without weakness. My comment directly stated that progressive members assume that all change they do not agree with are due to a prophet's weakness. This is FALSE. The scripture I provided gives evidence to that.

The bolded statement is false. Moses did not enter the promised the land because the children of Israel were disobedient and the Lord removed Moses from their midst. Modern revelation provides the following statement, "Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;" (emphasis mine)

Moses was removed from the children of Israel (as a result of their disobedience, not Moses's) and he was translated, which took him to a much more favored promised land (and probably more than what he even saw for himself -- he entered the spiritual promised land -- much greater than an earthly promised land and that is not the result of disobedience).

This goes without saying. I never said anything about us being any other religion.

Thus the crutch of my point. Progressive members also like to say if there is a change it is because the prophets are fallible. And they use this as a reason to go to social media to say, "You see the prophets were wrong, they are fallible, and I knew what they said [insert how many years ago] was wrong. And this change proves it. I was right and the prophets were wrong." Thus the scripture verse shared that not every change is because of the mistake or fallibility of prophets, ""Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good;"

Thus the last statement, progressive members erroneously  believe in their own self-fulfilled prophecy.

I am aware of what is taught.

See, this is a primary example of what some would consider changing doctrine.  Normally it is VERY HARD to find official church sources on some things once they change it.

In my earlier years, it was commonly taught that Moses made a major mistake when he claimed that he had to do things for the Children of Israel instead of attributing it to the Lord.  This is the reason he was not allowed to enter the promised land.  Instead of being the one to lead them, Joshua was the one who led them.  If this is indeed no longer taught (and no verification that it is not on my part, I haven't seen it said that this is not so) then it is an example of an actual change of a teaching of the church.

What does that mean?

It means that the way the church has taught it has changed, that the policy of why and how it is taught has changed, but the Doctrine itself...has NOT changed.

Indeed, though we may not know the exact situation in the Bible (though some of it was taught in the Church previously) the scriptures still contain this in Deuteronomy 32:48-52.

Quote

48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,

49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:

50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:

51 Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of MeribahKadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.

52 Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel

In addition, the problem IS that the critics and anti-Mormons say we teach that our prophet is infallible.  This is incorrect.

If people thought out leaders were infallible, they would not have a problem with what our leaders do.  It is that they feel they are INFALLIBLE that causes the problems.

Once they are taught or feel that the prophet is infallible it becomes VERY easy to simply show how that leader made mistakes or did things contrary to what we teach today.  The individual that based their testimony on someone being infallible suddenly has it shattered.  It falls apart because they see they were wrong.  Many then fall away.  It is because they build their testimony on the Church leadership rather than the gospel found in the church.

This is a primary tactic today of those who crusade against the church. They try to show that the church teaches that the leaders are infallible.  if this is so, and the church leaders make mistakes, then they are correct to say that the church is false because in truth, the leaders WERE fallible.  However, the church NEVER taught that.  This is why I try to emphasis against the idea when anyone wants to indicate that they are infallible.  It is a key way to lead people out of the church.

One major item that anti-Mormons ask today is if Joseph Smith was a prophet, why did he do things that seem to be taught against today in the church.  Why did he do certain activities in his youth.  The historian in me normally wants to point out that the sources of these stories are NOT actually reliable sources...but most people simply believe what they are told or do not have the capability to do this research.  Thus, when they find out about this and the superficial top level of sources, they believe what they are told.  They then face the problem that if Joseph Smith was a prophet, how could he do such a thing?

If they think he was infallible, this seems to disprove their question and suddenly they say they have a load on their shelf.  To them, it shows that he probably was fallible, and if so, how could he have possibly been a prophet.  For them, a prophet has to be infallible.  If not, he ceases to be a prophet.

On the otherhand, if they already understand that prophets are NOT infallible, and in fact at many times are exactly like us and can even do things just as bad or worse, such things probably will not have as great an impact on them if it even has an impact.  Our leaders are not God, and they are not immortal and perfect beings.  They are not even infallible.  They have said many things in their time that differ from what is taught today.  This is not because a change in doctrine but because men have their own opinions, biases, thoughts, and beliefs.  When they teach their own opinion on things, it is them expressing such things.  This influences how things are taught and the policies that direct these things in their day.  It should surprise no one when these policies and teachings change as they are based upon the ideas of men.

The things of God and the doctrine does not change.

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

At the risk of being inflammatory.... So we will replace, "Maybe our prophets/leaders make mistakes" with, "Maybe God is capricious" (or at least seems capricious to mortal eyes)?

I will have to think more on what I think about this. Is it necessarily either/or? Could it be both/and? Our leaders are fallible and God does appear to make changes for reasons we don't discern? And we won't always know when something happens because our leaders are fallible and when God is exercising His prerogative to change programs/policies/commandments as seemeth Him good?

God is NOT capricious.  That would be the only thing to accept if one felt that prophets and leaders are perfect and everything they say is doctrine.  It would then appear that the Lord changes his mind quite often.  That yes, he is even capricious and changes as per the winds of social pressure and the wisdom of men for that day.

However, we know from the scriptures this is not so.  God is the same today, yesterday, and forever

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

At the risk of being inflammatory.... So we will replace, "Maybe our prophets/leaders make mistakes" with, "Maybe God is capricious" (or at least seems capricious to mortal eyes)?

I will have to think more on what I think about this. Is it necessarily either/or? Could it be both/and? Our leaders are fallible and God does appear to make changes for reasons we don't discern? And we won't always know when something happens because our leaders are fallible and when God is exercising His prerogative to change programs/policies/commandments as seemeth Him good?

In the eyes of the world -- the natural man -- yes God is definitely "capricious." God in the eyes of the world is also many others things (I am sure you have heard how atheists describe the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).

One thing for certain, history still is repeating itself in our day pertaining to prophetic weakness and revelation. Remember, even when Moses was giving the "Law of Moses" there were many who thought him to be weak and was stretching things for his own will and sake. We also have evidence of how the Lord handled some of these situations. What then is the difference between Moses receiving revelation and the prophets today receiving revelation? None. These are truths I have come to realize with revelation and prophetic weakness and revelation:

1) Prophets are fully aware of their own weakness. What a position to hold in the Church knowing that when the Lord commands or reveals and they obey they have to deal with covenanted members pointing out all the time their "weakness" as if they don't know they are capable of weakness.

2) Revelation and fallibility of prophets isn't an either/or scenario, and definitely can be both depending on the decision made by the brethren. Revelation flows through key holders (I am speaking of revelation to the Church collectively), and the Lord will not reveal something different to the lay members of the Church if indeed the Lord is the one that revealed any proclamation, law, or commandment to his servants and then proclaimed to the people.

Not withstanding their weakness they are still commanded as Nephi to speak the will of the Lord according to what they receive. I, honestly, do not understand how members think they will receive a different revelation than the combined unity of the brethren. Nor do I understand how members rejoice when a change is made acting as if they were right all along, and the prophets made a mistake.

I am more concerned when prophets make a change, and it is the Lord giving his children what they want. That is a very dangerous place, and a place I don't ever want to be part of. The Lord gives his will, the people rebel or cause disruption, and then the Lord says, "Fine, I will give you what you want." This brings up the idea of the Children of Israel wanting a King.

3) True. God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways. We do not have all the information as the prophets do when they receive revelation. We are probably not asking the same questions they are asking either (at least some of us).

God will make changes according to his will and pleasure, command or revoke, and our ability to discern or accept doesn't make the revelation less than accurate. This reminds me of scenarios in wards where members do not have all the knowledge regarding decisions made by a bishop or stake president.

What I have witnessed, on more than one occasion, is how often these individuals think they have all the information and know better than the key holders. At one time, I had to finally let a member know how much he did not know about a situation and decision, but before then he knew all the answers. However, I don't place local leaders in the same light because there is no promise above their heads that they will not lead us astray. I am being open with that.

So, for sure, God definitely commands us with reasons we at this time do not discern. Similar to the cry right now of members and the word of wisdom who call this outdated, forgetting one of the main reasons it was given, "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation." Have these designs by evil men halted? If not, then the Word of Wisdom is not outdated in the least. But we have members who think they know, and the prophets are "old," "outdated," "behind the times," and many more things I have heard and read.

3) This is where I am indifferent to prophetic weakness with your last question. There is the first law in heaven -- obedience. There is the second law in heaven - sacrifice. There is the first great commandment -- to love God. There is the second great commandment -- to love our fellowmen. It is wise we don't invert these laws and commandments. As with specific changes we have members who invert love for neighbor and love for God, thus they care more about their neighbor than the commandments of the Lord.

So, I don't concern myself with prophetic weakness. I know they have weakness. I also know they are the conduit by which God's will is revealed to the Church collectively. I will follow and be obedient to the revelation God shared with me long ago on how he feels about his servants the prophets. How much love he has for them. And that he reveals his will to them, and it is my responsibility to learn what they have learned and why.

Nephi provides the perfect example of obedience to father and prophet. Nephi never went before the Lord talking about his father's weakness. Even when his father murmured before the Lord, Nephi went before his father and said to this nature, "Father, pray to the Lord and find out where I can find food." He then obeyed. Nephi could have easily discovered where food was for himself, but he didn't. Why?

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4 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

@JohnsonJones, I think I agree with your overall thesis that some of the things various Church leaders (or clusters of Church leaders) have carelessly labeled as “doctrine” didn’t quite rise to that level.  But the above is not true, on two counts.  First, the 1949 statement did indeed acknowledge that the policy would eventually change (although, granted, the projected circumstances under which that  was to happen seem to have been erroneous).  Second, the Gospel Topics essay does contextualize the policy in a cultural milieu, but does not state or suggest that Young, Smith, McKay, Hinckley, et al were lying when they described the policy as of divine origin.  Indeed, the essay notes that McKay asked God for permission to revoke the ban and was denied.  

Leaders individually can certainly err.  The salient question is the degree to which the leaders collectively err (via, e.g., pronouncements or policies promulgated through the entire 1st Presidency and/or Quorum of the Twelve).  President Uchtdorf seems to think that they don’t:  

 

You are correct about the 1949 statement acknowledging it would change.  I wrote it in a bad way and I conveyed it differently than I intended.  I apologize regarding that.

It merely reiterates what Brigham Young stated that when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood.  That can be interpreted in various ways.  Historically one can make an argument of what it means (and which is what I think you read in regards to what I said the proclamation meant).  The proclamation itself also uses Wilford Woodruff's comments in that context below it.  In this, I would mean that it would not change in the near future as it was understood at that time. It would not be until everyone else had been able to receive their blessings in the priesthood (which, was interpreted by many to mean after the millennium during the earlier days of the church). 

A reading with understanding of today, obviously has a different connotation...still, it does have some interesting tidbits.

It is in the 1949 statement some direct reasons for their idea of doctrine at that time. 

Quote

The attitude of the Church with reference to the Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.”

The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.

in contrast to that the essay the church puts out today on Race and the Priesthood states...

Quote

In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

and later in the same essay

 

Quote

The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah.10 According to one view, which had been promulgated in the United States from at least the 1730s, blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel.11 Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain was the mark of a dark skin. Black servitude was sometimes viewed as a second curse placed upon Noah’s grandson Canaan as a result of Ham’s indiscretion toward his father.12 Although slavery was not a significant factor in Utah’s economy and was soon abolished, the restriction on priesthood ordinations remained

 

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

You are correct about the 1949 statement acknowledging it would change.  I wrote it in a bad way and I conveyed it differently than I intended.  I apologize regarding that.

It merely reiterates what Brigham Young stated that when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood.  That can be interpreted in various ways.  Historically one can make an argument of what it means (and which is what I think you read in regards to what I said the proclamation meant).  The proclamation itself also uses Wilford Woodruff's comments in that context below it.  In this, I would mean that it would not change in the near future as it was understood at that time. It would not be until everyone else had been able to receive their blessings in the priesthood (which, was interpreted by many to mean after the millennium during the earlier days of the church). 

A reading with understanding of today, obviously has a different connotation...still, it does have some interesting tidbits.

It is in the 1949 statement some direct reasons for their idea of doctrine at that time. 

in contrast to that the essay the church puts out today on Race and the Priesthood states...

and later in the same essay

 

 

I think you’re right that most early leaders didn’t think the ban would end until the Millennium.

Interestingly, though—if we take the statements of Young and others that “descendants of Cain don’t get the priesthood until Abel has descendants who can hold the priesthood”, and we acknowledge that righteous folks who died pre-Christ were resurrected shortly after He was, and we take D&C 132:29 at face value that Abraham, at least, has already received his exaltation and is functioning as a god—there’s no theological reason Abel has to wait until the Millennium before entering his exaltation and having seed of his own.  It could have happened in 1978, or 1852, or—for that matter—anytime after AD 33.

My suspicion is that we may have been just a hair too quick to throw out the baby with the bathwater vis a vis some of the justifications with the ban.  On the other hand, “we don’t know” sounds a lot nicer than “Abel was resurrected, but didn’t get around to creating his own planet until June of 1978”.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Like with a large and growing list of conflicts, this one goes back to the definitions of the words.

 

Let’s define doctrine.

 

From the 1828 dictionary: In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles.

 

In that sense, both policy and unchanging truth are doctrines of the church. An official doctrine just means an official teaching. Whatever the church teaches officially at the time it is taught is the doctrine of the church. It doesn’t have to be permanent to be true doctrine, and it doesn’t have to be forever out of the question to currently be false doctrine.

 

If someone thinks that doctrine is unchangeable, they don’t understand what doctrine is.

 

Because doctrine is simply the official teaching, doctrine is always changing as the people progress. What doesn’t change is God and His Eternal nature, His character, His nature, His principles, and His work and glory. He is the unchanging one.

Edited by i'mnotspecial
Formatting errors.

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22 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

See, this is a primary example of what some would consider changing doctrine.  Normally it is VERY HARD to find official church sources on some things once they change it.

In my earlier years, it was commonly taught that Moses made a major mistake when he claimed that he had to do things for the Children of Israel instead of attributing it to the Lord.  This is the reason he was not allowed to enter the promised land.  Instead of being the one to lead them, Joshua was the one who led them.  If this is indeed no longer taught (and no verification that it is not on my part, I haven't seen it said that this is not so) then it is an example of an actual change of a teaching of the church.

I would say, the confusion is then in how people define doctrine. In a general perspective, the article @mikbone and what others are specifying is that doctrine is anything that is currently being taught. If we use this broad brush for doctrine, then yes, doctrine does indeed change.

I remember reading a clarification regarding Moses on my mission. I understood, from this article, that some members were teaching the given claim you have mentioned about Moses. The individual then shared how this interpretation in wrong (highlight also the verses of the Bible you mentioned), and then they clarified through modern revelation how this was not so.

I mine eyes, the truth (doctrine) regarding Moses never changed. What was incorrect was corrected. When people say doctrine changes, I easily see they don't understand then what doctrine is; however, if people are simply declaring doctrine as "anything" that is currently taught, then I can see what they are saying.

Quote

This is a primary tactic today of those who crusade against the church. They try to show that the church teaches that the leaders are infallible.  if this is so, and the church leaders make mistakes, then they are correct to say that the church is false because in truth, the leaders WERE fallible.  However, the church NEVER taught that.  This is why I try to emphasis against the idea when anyone wants to indicate that they are infallible.  It is a key way to lead people out of the church.

I have never declared our prophets to be infallible. I have always declared their fallibility. What I have declared is how I don't understand how covenanted members think prophetic weakness means they can disregard prophetic revelation because 1) They don't agree with the revelation, 2) Assume prophetic weakness is a reason to think they will receive something different than a united front of key holders, and 3) To go to social media and tell the world our prophets have weakness and are like, "Mark my words this will change," or something to this nature.

What I also know is how people treat our living prophet and apostles is how they would have treated Christ if they were living during his time. How we treat the servants is how we will also treat the master, and it was the master who said to his apostles -- paraphrazed -- remember how they treat you they treated me first.

Quote

One major item that anti-Mormons ask today is if Joseph Smith was a prophet, why did he do things that seem to be taught against today in the church.  Why did he do certain activities in his youth.  The historian in me normally wants to point out that the sources of these stories are NOT actually reliable sources...but most people simply believe what they are told or do not have the capability to do this research.  Thus, when they find out about this and the superficial top level of sources, they believe what they are told.  They then face the problem that if Joseph Smith was a prophet, how could he do such a thing?

If they think he was infallible, this seems to disprove their question and suddenly they say they have a load on their shelf.  To them, it shows that he probably was fallible, and if so, how could he have possibly been a prophet.  For them, a prophet has to be infallible.  If not, he ceases to be a prophet.

On the otherhand, if they already understand that prophets are NOT infallible, and in fact at many times are exactly like us and can even do things just as bad or worse, such things probably will not have as great an impact on them if it even has an impact.  Our leaders are not God, and they are not immortal and perfect beings.  They are not even infallible.  They have said many things in their time that differ from what is taught today.  This is not because a change in doctrine but because men have their own opinions, biases, thoughts, and beliefs.  When they teach their own opinion on things, it is them expressing such things.  This influences how things are taught and the policies that direct these things in their day.  It should surprise no one when these policies and teachings change as they are based upon the ideas of men.

The things of God and the doctrine does not change.

Overall, I would say I don't find any disagreement with this post, in light of doctrine being anything that is taught.

I have never looked at doctrine as simply something being "taught." The Book of Mormon specifies a doctrine regarding Christ being lifted up, and thus he is able to lift us up. Increasing our knowledge isn't a change in doctrine regarding this doctrine, but according to this broad brush definition it is.

 

Edited by Anddenex

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4 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I would say, the confusion is then in how people define doctrine. In a general perspective, the article @mikbone and what others are specifying is that doctrine is anything that is currently being taught. If we use this broad brush for doctrine, then yes, doctrine does indeed change.

I remember reading a clarification regarding Moses on my mission. I understood, from this article, that some members were teaching the given claim you have mentioned about Moses. The individual then shared how this interpretation in wrong (highlight also the verses of the Bible you mentioned), and then they clarified through modern revelation how this was not so.

I mine eyes, the truth (doctrine) regarding Moses never changed. What was incorrect was corrected. When people say doctrine changes, I easily see they don't understand then what doctrine is; however, if people are simply declaring doctrine as "anything" that is currently taught, then I can see what they are saying.

Sometimes we get confused on the difference of Truth vs. Doctrine

Truth - D&C 93:24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;

Doctrine is teaching.  

Quote

D&C 10:63 And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.

 

 

Quote

 

Mosiah 18:19 And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.

20 Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.

21 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

 

The doctrine model that differentiates, Core or Eternal vs. Supporting, Policy, and Esoteric doctrine is very useful to me.  It can help us to keep our eye on the prize.  

https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/re-17-no-3-2016/doctrine-models-evaluate-types-and-sources-latter-day-saint-teachings

 

 

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2 hours ago, mikbone said:

Sometimes we get confused on the difference of Truth vs. Doctrine

This is where we would have to agree to disagree.

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1 minute ago, MormonGator said:

"Look, we're just going to have to agree to disagree."-Edna Krabapple 

"I don't agree to that."-Principal Skinner.  

A-men.

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On what the Church actually considers doctrine, I would like to reiterate this ONE MORE TIME.

Mormon 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.

Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. The mistake that public commentators often make is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center. This is especially common among reporters or researchers who rely on how other Christians interpret Latter-day Saint doctrine.

Also from the same article, lest those who are saying teachings are the doctrine rather than what is defined as the doctrines of the church (4 standard works, official declarations and proclamations and the Articles of Faith)

Quote

Those writing or commenting on Latter-day Saint doctrine also need to understand that certain words in the Mormon vocabulary have slightly different meanings and connotations than those same words have in other religions. For example, Latter-day Saints generally view being born again as a process of conversion, whereas many other Christian denominations often view it as a conversion that happens in one defining moment. Sometimes what some may consider an argument or dispute over doctrine is really a misunderstanding of simple differences in terminology. 

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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