LDS book changing

This link is tracking the changes to the most recent edition of the LDS book Gospel Principles. You can read more about it here.

Aaron Shafovaloff tells me that the book is “the main introductory book for new converts and for members in general. The Mormon missionaries widely use it, they use it in classes on Sunday morning, and members will use it for family home evening studies.” Given this fact, and the fact that the thrust of the changes seems to be to make the LDS Church seem more vanilla Protestant in its doctrine, this is worth consideration.

Cynics (and I am amongst them) might think that this is simply a PR move to try and hide more objectionable doctrines for those who go ‘further up and further in.’ On the other hand, there is a real possibility that the Salt Lake church is going the way that the former RLDS Church (Community of Christ) went in moving towards a more orthodox Christian position. This would still leave many smaller Mormon sects in the movement that retain the charismatic and radical nature of the early LDS Church out there, but would mean that the Salt Lake church will continue on the path towards blandness, conformity, a business culture and an attempt to be as unobjectionable as possible. It is hard to see how the LDS Church can become orthodox while holding to the Standard Works that it accepts, but I suppose creative leaps could be made. Either way, the tensions with Mormonism are playing themselves out and it seems like the Mormon neo-orthodox have the upper hand in leadership positions.

6 thoughts on “LDS book changing”

  1. Interesting.

    A similar trajectory seems largely to have happened in Seventh Day Adventism. Of course, the position of Ellen G. White’s writings in SDAism was never as apparently settled as Smith’s et al has (largely) been in LDSism. Given all of the additional teachings with the same status as the Scriptures, it’s difficult to believe that the mainstream LDS can reconnect with a recognizable form of evangelicalism, although it also seems apparent that evangelicalism has had an effect on the foci of modern LDSism.

    Whether it’s self-consciously cynical or not, the upshot is to provide a type of generically Protestant public face, with interior teachings that diverge dramatically from any recognizably orthodox form of Protestantism (brodaly defined).

  2. Yes, it would be almost beyond comprehension for the Mormons to move into orthodoxy. I think it is almost impossible, and yet much of the doctrinal content of the BOM itself is essentially Protestant.

  3. Mormonism supports revisionists who apparently have no qualms “interpreting”/altering history to suit the teachings of various doctrine – it is encouraging to see that others are taking their “reformation” to task.

  4. Church publications change often according to the needs of the membership as decided upon by the leadership. Over the past many years, the majority of members are relatively new to the faith. Consequently, many publications are geared to help members learn and live the basic doctrines of the faith. In many ways this accords with the injunction of Paul about the “body of Christ” consisting of many members as described in 1 Corinthians 12.

  5. Greg, it seems to me that they are more interested in downplaying more controversial doctrines.

  6. I think that is always a factor as well, but in many cases it may not be the most important factor. Also, it has always been a basic doctrine that certain teachings have been emphasized or de-emphasized in preceding dispensations despite the fact that it is all the same gospel in every dispensation.

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