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Posted by: David Jason ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 03:19PM

Did anyone else get really pissed off when discussing doctrine even as a TBM? I always hated it because the official doctrine was useless. Everything in the scriptures had to be explained using external books (Mormon Doctrine, Ensign, Conference talks...)

If you tried to debate something you could never arrive at an answer because you would just talk in circles because even the prophet disagreed depending on the time. It was extremely frustrating.

If you ever try to push someone into a corner on theology. They would use one of three cop-outs. That's not official doctrine, you're taking it out of context, it was translated incorrectly.

I really hated this even as a TBM, everything had to be deferred to God will reveal it in the next life.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 03:25PM

Maddening isn't it?

What makes it worse is that nine times out of ten those excuses come out of the mouth of a person who doesn't know what official doctrine is, does not know the definition of context, and if they heard themselves say "it wasn't translated correctly" they would go "wait, what did I just say?"

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 03:30PM

I experienced that too when I was active. There was very little you could prove as doctrine unless it was straight out of the scriptures, and even then, it was up to interpretation.

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Posted by: gentlestrength ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 03:34PM

Getting a Mormon to have a consistent, translatable position on a doctrine is not unlike trying to pin green "Jell-O" to the wall.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 03:44PM

The closest I could get to "official doctrine" was the

Gospel Principles Manual

and the comments in the Ensign by the prophet each month.

Of course, the Proclamation on the Family is official doctrine.

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 04:16PM

And of course those sources lose their doctrinal power 10, 20, 30 years from now.

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Posted by: A ANON ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 03:52PM


Contrary to its claim of "Continuous revelation", Mormonism truly cannot define its own beliefs, even (supposedly) with God's direct help!

Everyone who has ever tried has failed -- Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie are two of the most recent and notable to fail, but it goes all the way back to "The Journal of discourses" and beyond.

There is no such thing as a lasting, definitive and comprehensive statement of Mormon doctrine, ANYWHERE. There are just libraries full of ideas that have come and gone, and many that are currently denied even though they were originally given as revealed fact in their day.

The worst thing you can do to a missionary or a General Authority is to request a once-and-for-all, single statement of beliefs. (The Articles of Faith become a joke in this regard)

Mormons (with every fiber of their being) firmly believe in things that they can't even explain to themselves with any degree of confidence.

For instance: Prior to the early 90's, God was once a man, after that time, however, God was NOT once a man. And yet the church's great goal for its members and the world is " know the only true God."

The great final test of liars (and False Prophets) is that they can't keep their stories straight over time.

As Christ put it, "By their fruits, ye shall know them."


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Posted by: Senoritalamanita ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 04:09PM

It's funny you brought that up. I am doing research on a writing project. I want to compare today's church policies/doctrines with those of Joseph Smith's time.

Because the church's position on certain subjects change faster than a snake on Teflon, I'm having a hard time writing in concrete terms.

Of course, I want to balance the abstract with the concrete, but the LDS Church makes that almost impossible.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2013 04:10PM by Senoritalamanita.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 05:30PM

Senoritalamanita Wrote:
> It's funny you brought that up. I am doing
> research on a writing project. I want to compare
> today's church policies/doctrines with those of
> Joseph Smith's time.

I can recommend an excellent book on that topic:

"This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology" by Charles R. Harrell, Kofford Books, 2011.

I reviewed it for the Association for Mormon Letters, but the review is not yet in their archives. If you want a copy of the review, e-mail me.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 05:40PM

Jesus told the Nephites that his doctrine was:

1. Faith
2. Repentance
3. Baptism

Anything MORE OR LESS than that, he said, is from the devil.

Read it yourself: 3 Nephi 11:32-40 (kind of long-winded, but he was still suffering from jet lag after his trip from Jerusalem)

See also Mosiah 25:21-22 and D&C 10:57-68, endorsing what is in 3 Nephi.

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Posted by: gentlestrength ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 04:14PM

It doesn't win points, but when my TBMs say something is true to me in their testimony, I tell them I don't know what they mean is true, what version of true are you affirming.

I "know" the Church is true, what does that mean?
I know the Book of Mormon is true/the word of God? What version?
I know the temple is the House of The Lord God? What does that mean?

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Posted by: marriedtoexmo ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 04:36PM

My wife just ordered this book, which is supposedly the definitive beliefs of the church:

I skimmed through some of the documentation that came with the books and it said that in order to be included in the book the belief would have to be identified in 3 different places within the cannonical scriptures...but, don't quote me on that, I just glanced at the notes as I was tossing them in the recycling bin

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Posted by: David Jason ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 04:55PM

Isn't that funny, a non-doctrinal book telling us what doctrine is?

I remember specifically researching one day what was official doctrine and I got a bunch of different answers.

Must be canonized
Must be followed by thus saith the lord
Must be from the prophet
Must be from the 15
Modern prophet supersede past prophets
The church has to give consent to it
Must be in general conference

Basically nothing met these requirements so I just went back to talking in circles.

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Posted by: A ANON ( )
Date: July 10, 2013 02:34AM

RE link:

Why isn't Thomas S. Monson the author of this book?

The answer is deniability. When something goes wrong with any of these attempts (like "Answers to Gospel questions", "Mormon doctrine" -- and all the others), then the "Prophet" can easily disown what was said and walk away clean.

That is what has happened every time. All the "prophet" has to say is something like: "I don't know that we teach that." or "That's more of a couplet than anything." It was never doctrine, just someone's opinion.

These doctrinal books always seem to be officially, unofficial. The idea is to use them while they still work, and then abandon them when things go wrong.

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 04:59PM

Mormons don't have beliefs.
They have rules. Lots of rules.
They are constantly rewriting the rule book depending on who is in charge.

You can believe anything you want as long as you don't talk about it. You had better follow all of the rules though, or it won't be pretty.

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Posted by: Lostmypassword ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 05:04PM

One word. Calvinball.

Does this make Mormon theology Calvinist?

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Posted by: peacelovemoana ( )
Date: July 10, 2013 02:45AM

Hahaha! That is about the greatest comparison I have ever read. :)

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Posted by: gentlestrength ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 05:12PM

Maybe the most consistent thing we can agree to as Mormon doctrine is.....


Now from there you can pick and choose what to obey, but whomever is pronouncing a doctrine, certainly expects the audience and often non-audience to obey.

Mormon Prayer
Mormon Priesthood
One True Church
Mormn Temple Cult Rituals

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 05:45PM

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Posted by: crom ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 05:48PM

I told someone outside of Mormondom that I thought there were as many versions of what Mormons believe as there were Mormons. Which left the inaccurate impression that its loosey goosey and a free for all.

There is absolute agreement about what you wear, what you say, what you do, who you obey and what you pay.

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Posted by: sharapata ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 09:05PM

Absolute agreement on what you wear? Perhaps, if you are talking about garments. But it goes beyond that. Some local leaders go as far as expecting the young men who bless the Sacrament to only wear white shirts on Sundays.

Absolute agreement on what you do? Tell that to President Monson who allegedly inhales gallons of caffeinated soda a day.

Absolute agreement on who you obey? I remember very well as a brand new missionary thinking the "White bible" was the be-all, end-all authority for missionaries. Turns out, as soon as I got to the field, my Mission President had his own set of rules that deviated from the "white bible".

Absolute agreement on what you pay? Nope, not in my 40 years in the Church. The tithing on the net versus gross argument never fully goes way.

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Posted by: crom ( )
Date: July 10, 2013 03:45AM

Net versus gross. Color of Shirts. Cola drinking. Rulebooks.

Yeah that's a big spread.

We are talking about a culture that goes through the roof at women wearing pants to church. Members get their panties in a twist if someone disagrees with a Bishop on even trivial matters. There is a long list of taboo subjects that must not be discussed. Even what movies people shouldn't watch is always coming up. Jeez.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2013 03:54AM by crom.

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Posted by: jefro ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 10:26PM

I quoted John Taylor to an Area Seventy once. His response: "But our current prophet didn't say that." The quote was from a correlated lesson manual, and he still wouldn't accept it.

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Posted by: crom ( )
Date: July 10, 2013 03:51AM

"If a professor of religion at a church-owned university cannot be trusted to elaborate on what Mormons believe, who can? "


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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: July 09, 2013 11:19PM

To me, Mormon doctrine was just a bag of misc. assorted stuff that a leader could reach into to and get an appropriate tool for guilt generation. That's how they use it.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: July 10, 2013 12:09AM

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Posted by: snowball ( )
Date: July 10, 2013 07:36AM

It seems that it's doctrine when they want you to do something. For many TBM parents "For the Strength of the Youth" may as well have been inscribed by the finger of God.

What if TBM's blew off everything their leaders counseled in just such a cavalier way? "I'm not paying tithing--that's not official doctrine." "I'll wear pants to church, that's a policy not a doctrine." "I'll wear as many earrings as I please, Gordon Hinckley was just speaking as a man."

Yet get into something embarrassing, or something that has been changed--and you get the blow off: "That was never official doctrine."

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