Church-Owned Deseret Book Stops Publishing McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine”, Claiming “Low Sales”

Church-owned Deseret Book stops publishing & shelving McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, claiming “low sales”, and gets caught lying by a local news organization (HT: Rob Sivulka of

Let me breathe in deeply and exhale loudly on this: LIARS!

Bill McKeever observes:

Though hardly a scientific analysis, it is curious to note that on Mormon Doctrine still enjoys a moderate sales ranking of 209,180. This is higher than other LDS books that are still in print, including: Faith Precedes the Miracle (#244,876), Answers to Gospel Questions (#700,130 ), Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (#590,328), Are Mormons Christian? (#659,996), and volume one of the Joseph Smith Papers (#412,561).

Update: Bill was looking at the hardcover version. The paperback version is ranked tonight at an incredible #5,657, although it is fluctuating.

Update 2:

“The book Mormon Doctrine, written by Bruce R. McConkie, is one of the time-honored classics of Mormon literature. Few [LDS] books can match it in endurance or number of copies sold. Perhaps few books, except the scriptures, can match it in the frequency with which it has been quoted in talks and lessons by those seeking to teach gospel principles.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Bruce R. McConkie Story: Reflections of a Son, Deseret Book, 2003, p.182.)

Having heard a rumor that this was going to happen about a year ago (a Mormon with a connection to LDS curriculum development said there was a new moratorium on quoting from the book), I personally asked Deseret Book employees in Fort Union (in the SLC area) how well the book sold and they said it sold well.

This was also foreshadowed by the removal in the 2009 Gospel Principles of any references of quotes from Mormon Doctrine.

What’s the REAL reason it was stopped?

1) Tighter correlative control

2) Because of the book’s embarrassing clarity

3) Because of some controversial assertions in the book

Low sales? What a cowardly lie.

As I have written elsewhere, Mormon teaching can sometimes have a “shelf-life”. When Mormon teaching dies, it normally does so though distancing over time, not formal repudiation. Formal repudiation is usually avoided by Mormon leaders. It would highlight the fallibility of church leaders and potentially bring a sensitive, embarrassing issue to light, prompting many to investigate material from earlier Church leaders which isn’t faith-promoting.

To the annoyance of many Mormons, some doctrines “maintain a zombie-like existence when they should just stay dead”, never quite receiving formal repudiation, no longer renewed with formal endorsement or emphasis, yet staying alive in the form of old statements made by church leaders. This problem is aggravated by the internet.

That said, I doubt that the cessation of “Mormon Doctrine” represents a cessation of the main teachings/beliefs in it that are heretical. Given the 2009 Gospel Principles as well as interaction with thousands of Mormon youth, it sure doesn’t seem so.

It’s also parallel with the issue of the 1978 lifting of the theologically justified racist priesthood ban. History has shown that it was the Church’s way of adapting, not of repenting, and that Mormons have become largely callous and indifferent over the never-apologized-for theological rationale the LDS Church once used to justify the ban. Today, most Mormons have just continued downstream in their river of Mormon consciousness, largely unaware of the history that plagues their past priesthood leaders. And the ones who do know about it seem to give their leaders a cold-hearted free pass. Are they spiritually better off? Doesn’t seem so.

So I’m not seeing a lot of cause for general optimism short of God doing a supernatural work of revival, where people are cut to the heart, confessing their sins, spurning false teachers, and worshiping the true God.

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47 Responses to Church-Owned Deseret Book Stops Publishing McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine”, Claiming “Low Sales”

  1. Pingback: Deseret News stops selling “Mormon Doctrine” | Miguel Lomelino

  2. kylyo21 says:

    Pretty interesting I’m curious what my Mormon buddy will say about this. Probably that it isn’t a standard doctrine.

    Why is Mormon doctrine so fluid??? Does God not speak through His Word, is His Word not perfect, is He not powerful enough to prevent His Word from being perverted??

    Proverbs 30:5 “Every Word of God proves true…”
    2 Tim 3:16 “All scripture is breathed out by God.”
    Isaiah 46:10 “..I will accomplish My purpose.”

    If the Bible is messed up, one of those verses is wrong, period! Mormons have a very small view of God if they think He would let HIS Word get messed up throughout history.

    Instead they have changing Doctrine, built on a foundation of sand. Please trust God’s WORD!!!

  3. grindael says:

    I think LDS Inc. is very aware that Mormon Doctrine [the book] will never go away. I have been running into a ‘source’ problem on the internet lately, Mormons in other forums claiming I am making up quotes, even with the source posted because they say it is being taken out of context and can’t they read the entire source. Quoting more, doesn’t seem to help, references don’t seem to help. They seem to want you to post whole discourses now, which is impossible in this type of forum. More and more they are falling back on a ‘denial’ argument in relation to doctrine and sources. They seem not to want to take any quotes at face value, always ascribing a ‘hidden’ meaning to the words that makes little sense in the light of the quotes. (Not all Mormons do this, for sure) but I find it deceptive, as I find the excuses for the discontinuances of MD.

    Of course Aaron, the Church will only fall back on the tried and true, that is only the store clerk’s opinion and does not reflect on the Church, who will say such knowledge [the reason behind the book being shelved] is not necessary for our salvation. It continually amazes me that a Church, and their Prophets who claim to speak to God [he is a man to them right, so it would be ‘face to face’ right?] will solemnly say that God banned the black race from the Priesthood, then repeal it and GIVE NO REASON WHY GOD DID IT IN THE FIRST PLACE – Give only obscure quotes from Prophets that they say are only their ‘opinion’. Try pinning down a Mormon on the ‘pre-existence sidelines’ doctrine and see what I mean.

    As for God being a man – I find it very telling that Mormons claim firmly that God is a Man yet he NEVER APPEARS to the Mormon Prophets, they get all their revelation from ‘visions’/dreams (Jos. F. Smith) and the Holy Ghost [Kimball – Priesthood] lately. Where is the Mormon God hiding? Why would not God come down Himself and appear to the Prophet & the 12 as he did in Kirtland? And would they not, AS PROPHETS want to proclaim this from the rooftops as did the OT prophets and Smith & Rigdon did [D&C 76] – all I see now is ‘it is too sacred’.

  4. setfree says:

    having not have read that book myself, i am wanting to ask you – could you give some specific “embarrassing clarity” examples?

  5. falcon says:

    I hate to be so simplistic here but the reason for the Mormon’s reaction is because they want to believe Mormonism. It’s that simple. They groove on it! So nothing will disturb them. It’s only the folks like you that, when faced with solid information that Mormonism is a bad joke, have the integrity that won’t allow you to live with the cognitive dissonance.
    jackg has shared how badly he wanted Mormonism to be true, but knew it wasn’t. The Smith tale can be very attractive bait.

  6. Ralph says:

    The article above says that its sales on Amazon are still higher than other LDS books in print. I had a quick look on Amazon and here are some figures I came up with for LDS books still in print

    Miracle of Forgiveness – 47,773
    Holy Temple – 90,160
    A Marvellous Work and a Wonder – 99,047
    Our Search for Happiness – 164,993
    (Mormon Doctrine – 209,180 Bill’s reference)
    Jesus The Christ – 222,922
    Mormon Doctrine – 298,818 (Updated – its dropped in sales!)

    Even allowing for the figure Bill references (I believe it’s not up-to-date) there are still 4 LDS books in print that are higher in sales than Mormon Doctrine. So do we call this article ‘liar’ or just ‘bad research’?

    As far as the book is concerned, it was just a tool to help teach and understanding the gospel, not an absolute authoritative book on the doctrine. As proof, we all know, there was at least one part that the then First Presidency had Elder McConkie change, and that was about the Roman Catholic Church being the great and abominable church.

    If the Church is ‘phasing’ it out of the teaching manuals, it’s most likely because it’s outdated and ran its course. We have more ‘up-to-date’ quotes/references from modern day prophets and general authorities that make the gospel easier to understand. These quotes are based on past and present revelations and books, thus making ‘Mormon Doctrine’ a part of the foundation of these understandings and teachings.

    It’s like research; we try to use references no more than 3 years old when it comes to using review articles and let these references point to the original works. If there is more knowledge around in later works, use them, as they have used the older works as their foundation.

    BTW, have you noticed that ‘A Marvellous Work and a Wonder’ is not sold as part of the missionary library anymore either (Mormon Doctrine used to be part of it)? Its because its outdated as well. Not that it isn’t a good book.

    Moderator’s note: Bill was looking at the hardcover version. The paperback version is ranked at an incredible #5,657, outselling all other books you have listed, including the Miracle of Forgiveness.

  7. Jay K says:

    Ha, there’s an app for that (A Marvelous Work and so forth). Pretty assertive book.

    I don’t know the legal side, but I hope someone can post a Mormon Doctrine app soon!
    I have my doubts though.

  8. setfree says:

    Ok, here’s one:

    “Negroes IN THIS LIFE are denied the priesthood; UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.” LDS “Apostle” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527, 1966 edition, emphasis added. (See also LDS Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 1:20-27)

  9. falcon says:

    Ah yes, the updated “stuff”. That’s the marvelous feature of Mormonism. Teaching, doctrine and practice that runs its course, is jettisoned and the gods of Mormonism wave to these things as they (teachings et al) speed past Kolob.
    The other wonderful feature of Mormonism, of course, is revised history. That’s a little more difficult to cover up however.
    So what little tactic do we have here. Usually we get ignore then deny.
    McConkie was the go to guy for the head dudes at the HQ in SLC for years. He was the man. Bill said he misses the old timers like McConkie because they weren’t wishy washy. The guy is now out of favor.
    Mormonism is a flavor of the month religion. What was chocolate yesterday is tuti fruiti today. Come to think of it, all of Mormonism is tuti fruiti.

  10. jackg says:

    Falcon is right on the money in his assessment of McConkie–he was definitely the go-to guy. He was the Mormon Authority regarding Mormon theology. Even though McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” sold a lot of copies, I wonder how much of it was actually read by church members. “Jesus the Christ” was also a difficult read, but very thorough. I think a Christian reading these books would clearly see the synchretism that infests Mormonism.

    Ralph, can you list the authors of these books as I can’t recall all of them? That would be greatly appreciated, because I think the total sales would correlate with the author. Also, Ralph, I think you do a good job of explaining why some of the older writings are replaced by newer material. I understand where you’re coming from regarding the fact that the newer material will draw from the older; however, I think it would be fair to add that the older stuff that perhaps wasn’t so politically correct is the stuff no longer used. I see that it makes sense to you within the context of progressive revelation. I just hope you can understand that we Christians see it as the Mormon Church struggling to remove itself as far as it can from at least uninspired teachings. The older writings reveal prejudices that are quite frankly embarrassing, today.


  11. Ralph wrote

    As far as the book is concerned, it was just a tool to help teach and understanding the gospel, not an absolute authoritative book on the doctrine.

    Hi Ralph,

    Haven’t heard from you for a while. I hope you’re well.

    Back to your comment. I must have missed the memo on that one. I thought the whole point of the Mormon enterprise was that the current Apostles and Prophets would be here to provide authoritive doctrine, which we had better listen to, or we will be lost.

    Look at the title of the book, and it’s author. This isn’t simply a “teaching aid”, it’s the Word of God, as revealed through God’s chosen mouthpiece.

    Isn’t this the message that Mormons missionaries carry throughout the world?

    Now, it seems that when somebody (who?) decides that old doctrine is no longer desirable, it get’s retired.

    If the issue of doctrine is so important to Mormons, why the callous indifference to it?

    What happens to the faithful Mormons who lived and died under these doctrines? What’s going to happen in the Mormon heaven when the new cohort arrives (black priests included)? A war, in which some get kicked out, perhaps?

    Like Rev 12:7-9

    And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

  12. Rick B says:

    The problems I have with what you said are these.
    I believe the Bible and the prophets and apostles and what they taught, I have no problems with a pastor teaching, but if the pastor teaches something that goes against the word of God, then I wont listen to the pastor.

    The problem with what you believe is, your prophets and teachers are supposed to be mouth pieces for God, but no longer. Here is what Bruce Mc had to say about your prophets and teachers.

    In the Original 1958 Edition to the Book Mormon Doctrine By Bruce R.McConkie He states In the Preface:

    This Work on Mormon Doctrine Is unique–the first book of it’s kind ever published.
    It is the first major attempt to digest, explain, and analyze all of the important doctrines of the kingdom.
    It is the first extensive compendium of the whole gospel–the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic commentary covering the whole field of revealed religion.

    True, there are many Bible commentaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias; but they all abound in apostate, sectarian notions. Also, there are many sound gospel texts on special subjects.

    But never before has a comprehensive attempt been made to define and outline, in a brief manner, all of the basic principles of salvation–and to do it from the perspective of all revelation, both ancient and modern.

    This work on Mormon Doctrine is designed to help persons seeking salvation to gain that knowledge of God and his laws without which they cannot hope for an inheritance in the celestial city.

    Since it is impossible foe a man to be saved in ignorance of God and his laws and since a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, it follows that men are obligated at their peril to learn and apply the true doctrines of the gospel.


  13. Rick B says:


    this gospel compendium will enable men, more effectively, to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom”; to “be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel,in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient” for them “to understand.” (D and C 88:77-7

    For the work itself, I assume sole and full responsibility. Observant students, however, will note that the four standard works of the Church are the chief sources of authority quoted and that literally tens of thousands of scriptural quotations and citations are woven into the text material.
    Where added explanations and interpretations were deemed essential, they have been taken from such recognized doctrinal authorities as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and Joseph Fielding Smith.

    Two persons have been particularly helpful in the actual preparation of the work: 1. Velma Harvey, my very able and competent secretary, who with unbounded devotion and insight has typed manuscripts, checked references, proofread, and worked out many technical details; and 2. Joseph Fielding Smith , Jr., my brother in law, who both set the type and made many valuable suggestions as to content and construction.

    Abundant needed and important counsel has also come from Milton R. Hunter, my colleague on the First Council of the Seventy; Marvin Wallin, of Bookcraft; and Thomas S. Moson, of the deseret News Press. Salt Lake City, Utah June 1, 1958 –Bruce R. McConkie.
    Rick b

  14. Ralph says:


    List of Book, Author and Date first published.

    Jesus the Christ – James E Talmage (1915)
    A Marvellous Work and a Wonder – LeGrand Richards (1950)
    Mormon Doctrine – Bruce R McConkie (1958)
    Miracle of Forgiveness – Spencer W Kimball (1969)
    Holy Temple – Boyd K Packer (1980)
    Our Search for Happiness – M Russell Ballard (1993)

    If you go back to the list of ‘popularity’ on Amazon, you will find that the 2 older books have a higher sales figure than Mormon Doctrine. As the authors of the books are all different, it shows no correlation between sales and author. You may want to speculate that the other authors are more popular than McConkie, however that would be your speculation as there is no proof in the above data.

    But you missed one of my points, although it was subtle. There was a major drop of almost 90,000 places in sales favourability from the time Bill found it (209,180) to today when I looked it up (298,818) [I wonder what the time difference is as that would also show a trend; ie the difference between a drop of 90,000 in 12 months compared to 90,000 in 3 months.] The article is about Deseret Bookshop lying that sales have slumped. I think the Amazon figures have shown that there is a slump in sales pretty well, don’t you? Some book publishers have a threshold number below which they will not publish anymore. If they are selling a couple of hundred a year rather than a few thousand then it may not be economically viable for them to publish it anymore.

    As far as your last point on moving away from the past ‘politically incorrect’ teachings, well that is your opinion. Yes, one can interpret events in that manner, but that does not make it true.


    Did you notice this comment in the quote you gave (2nd post, 2nd paragraph, first sentence)?


    In other words, this is his thoughts, not official thoughts.

  15. Jay K says:

    You’re right, Ralph. McConkie could be spewing out a million heresies, but they’re just his thoughts. 

    They in no way disqualify him as an Apostle of the Mormon church, even though he’s one of the twelve people who make important, authoritative decisions for that church. 

    It wouldn’t surprise me if everyone just agreed, all 12 misled people under the very charismatic Joseph Smith, no influence from the Spirit at all, and then poof! Eternal marriage. What an attractive belief to make official! 

    This is more man-made than you likely believe the Council of Nicea to be! Scriptural doctrine, at the hands of easily suggestible people from a very young religion.  

    This book is just opinion? The whole belief system is just opinion! The only separation between truth and lie is whatever feeling you receive from God knows where. 

    Makes me wonder how you guys treat people who hold a prayer-derived, cotradictory answer to your own prayer-derived answer. Are they held subject to the opinion theory as well? 





  16. Ralph, you’ll want to see the sales ranking here for the softcover version.

  17. Someone just quoted this at Mormon Matters:

    “The book Mormon Doctrine, written by Bruce R. McConkie, is one of the time-honored classics of Mormon literature. Few [LDS] books can match it in endurance or number of copies sold. Perhaps few books, except the scriptures, can match it in the frequency with which it has been quoted in talks and lessons by those seeking to teach gospel principles.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Bruce R. McConkie Story: Reflections of a Son, Deseret Book, 2003, p.182.)

  18. Bill McKeever says:

    Ralph, the numbers I supplied were taken from just this morning (5/20/10). Knowing these numbers fluctuate dramatically I made it clear that this comparison was hardly scientific. I was citing the ranking for the hardcover edition; however if you go to you will see that the paperback edition ranks much higher. A few minutes ago it ranked it at #6,778. I’ve had no reason to lie in the past Ralph, and I have no need to lie now.

  19. Ralph says:

    Sorry Aaron,

    I didn’t know they had seperate rankings for hard and soft covers. But given the slump in hardcover sales, is there a corresponding slump in soft cover or is there an increase or is there no difference?

    BTW, I found an ‘Amazon Best Sellers Rank” figure at 6,778 just then on Amazon. Which is slightly different to the one you posted above. When was that number retrieved? If it was today then why are we finding different numbers? Are we looking in the same places? I am on the American amazon site, not the UK so I do believe we are looking at the same source but maybe not the same place on the page.

    Jay K,

    The book was given to the Prophet and his counsellors to review before print and he had to make some changes, but that does not mean that everything in it is 100 percent correct doctrine. But as Elder McConkie states – it is his work and not an official document.

  20. Jay K says:

    I agree with everything you just said, Ralph, but I’m just more concerned with what I wrote in my post than the process that this book went through.

  21. Ralph says:


    Our last comments must have overlapped as I didn’t see yours until mine went through. I never said that you lied, I was commenting that the article lied. It did not give full information about other more popular LDS books in the same vein as Mormon Doctrine. I don’t know if you had looked at them as well.

    The main premise behind this article is that Deseret Book shop is lying about a slump in sales of the book. The figures given from the Amazon site I have just found, appear to fluctuate immensely during the day. So nothing definitive can be said using those numbers.

    But as I said, most publishers have a threshold number for a year (or half hear or set period of time) during which if they do not sell a certain quantity, they will not publish the book anymore as it is not economically viable for them to do so. Has Deseret Publishers reached this threshold? Are people recycling their copies and giving them to other members to use or is electronic media taking over and people are downloading it off the internet? These are questions to answer before saying that the publisher is lying.

  22. falcon says:

    I don’t know, but it seems to me that Mormonism would like to bury McConkie’s book since it reflected another era, another time and place, and a whole different attitude within the Mormom church, SLC version. Mormons are trapped in the unenviable position of having to deny and accept features of their religion and teachings of their honchos, all at the same time. A lot of Mormons seem to want the religion to be something other than it really is. That’s where all of these writings by folks who were leaders and shaped Mormon thought in the past end-up getting shelved by the Mormon saints in latter days.
    Let’s be frank, this is an embarrassing element of Mormonism. However, it all gets covered under the progressive revelation clause of the religion. Mormons really don’t want to be held accountable for McConkie or some of the real loons that were past leaders. That’s why the Journal of Discourses is such a huge embarrassment. That’s why doctrine like Adam-god, which Brigham Young taught and McConkie (of all people) dissed.
    So there you have it, Mormons have to show respect for these guys that uttered totally preposterous revelations and at the same time denying what was revealed.
    I think it’s worth noting the position and respect McConkie held within the Mormon church during his time. This wasn’t just some renegade Mormon prophet living in the mountains surrounding Happy Valley.

  23. Rick B says:


    In other words, this is his thoughts, not official thoughts.

    Ralph, I am well aware of that being their, but here is what your missing, While these things are his thoughts he is still looking back over what past prophets and presidents have said and taught. Bruce is using that to base his thoughts that make up the book, Then as a second line of defense so to speak, he give it to other well respected leaders or prophets to view it and say, do you agree with me?

    If they do, which they did then it gets in the book. So since LDS get rid of the original Mormon Doctrine for the more sanitized updated version, what about all the people from years ago that believed the Teachings in the Book, They clearly believed it and most likely went on to teach others what it said.

    Sadly your blind like the bible says and will end up apart from Christ forever unless you have the scales removed and you see the True Jesus. Your church is so full of lies and deception it not funny, Many LDS on this site cannot defend the major doctrines, we find them only defending the petty trivial things and some LDS who were booted needed to resort to lies and more deceit by using fake name to get back on.

    And you guys wonder why we ask the questions we do or say the things we do. Here is one example. A Christian, I believe it was the Jew named Messianic, he said the BoM contradicts it’s self. Jim Olsen rebuked him saying he cannot say that kind of stuff and accused him of never reading the BoM. I told Jim it’s true and provide evidence that Jim asked for. Turns out he never replied back to me.

    Then Janet made claims, she avoid me like the plague and flat out said in her words, She will not answer me, then was exposed as a wolf in sheeps clothing, Turns out She’s a he and was lying to be able to post.

    If LDS act like this, then no wonder we say what we do. Rick b

  24. The main premise behind this article is that Deseret Book shop is lying about a slump in sales of the book.

    More accurately, the main premise is that the Church-owned Deseret Book is lying that a decrease in sales is the real decisive reason for the cessation of the book. I wouldn’t doubt sales have decreased. But decreased to the point of making the book not worth publishing? Baloney. Deseret Book still publishes plenty of other books that haven’t sold as well.

  25. Olsen Jim says:


    You remember incorrectly. You said the BOM contradicts the Bible. I asked you to support that claim. You did not, but along with messianic gave examples of ways you thought modern church teachings contradict the BOM and Bible- totally different claim.

    I invite you to review that thread if you don’t remember.

    The claim that the BOM contradicts itself isn’ something that would get a rise out of me because almost any book can be made to appear to contradict itself (the Bible included)- it simply is not a statement or argument I would make. Can you show me I am wrong?

    Aaron- can you show that slumping sales were NOT the reason Deseret Book is no longer printing Mormon Doctrine? Can you show the historical sales trend for this book? Seems a little judgemental to make your claims without such data. Even in the biased and ideologically bent mainstream media, your conclusions would never pass as reliable or having any type of support from actual facts.

  26. Deseret Book is a for-profit corporation. That Deseret Book continues to publish books that don’t sell nearly as well as Mormon Doctrine did is sufficient evidence itself.

    Also, if money was the issue, all Deseret Book had to do was to sell the rights of the book to another publisher, an offer that quite a few Utah-based publishers would have been quick to jump on! But that’s besides the point.

    The book if an embarrassment to the Church. They want to stop its legacy, take out references to the book in Church publications, and streamline teachings through correlation.

  27. grindael says:

    The Mormon Church claims to have only a few authoritative sources for DOCTRINE, the standard works, or ‘Official’ statements from the First Presidency. This has obviously changed in the Church, as I will show by analyzing First Presidency statements on their Priesthood Ban of the Negroes. A Mormon Scholar named Armand L. Mauss wrote an article called: ‘The Fading of the Pharaohs’ Curse: The Decline and Fall of the Priesthood Ban Against Blacks in the Mormon Church.’ Who is Armand L. Mauss? According to Wiki:

    “Armand Lind Mauss (born June 5, 1928) is an American sociologist specializing in the sociology of religion. He is professor emeritus of Sociology and Religious Studies at Washington State University, is the most often published sociologist in the twentieth century of works on the Mormons, and is broadly recognized as one of the leading Mormon intellectuals of his generation.”

    In one footnote to this article, Mr. Mauss makes this interesting observation:

    6. Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, 11th ed. (Salt Lake City: the Genealogical Society, 1958), especially Chapters 7, 15, and 16. The first edition of this book appeared in 1931 and reflects the recorded teachings and opinions of the author’s father and sixth church president, Joseph F. Smith, who in turn seems to have adopted many of the ideas of Brigham Young. All such teachings have been given prolonged credibility in more recent years by their repetition in Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), esp. pp. 526-28.

    I think this view by LDS SCHOLARS, is still widely affirmed in the Mormon Community. Mormonism has been changing, that is for sure. But is it changing by revelation, or is it changing according to the impact of the world view upon it? I left the Church in the 1980’s, and would never have thought back then that Mormon Doctrine

  28. grindael says:

    would ever have fallen out of disfavor with ANY Mormons, let alone see it regarded with such derision by some in the Mormon Community. Another thing I found significant is the use of a PR Firm by the Church. I was frankly astounded when I first read about it after catching up my research on the Church in the last year or so. (I had purposely avoided all things Mormon in my life until a run-in with some Missionaries and Church Members in 2008 – which renewed my interest and motivated my on-line dialogs). Why this use of a PR Firm, when Mormons claim to have a direct line to Him who knows all things: God himself?

    I find the ban on Priesthood to blacks a unique way to analyze the questions of what Mormon Doctrine is, and how past First Presidencies have defined it, because there are no scriptural references to the reasons behind it (only one that I know of but it does not tie Pharaoh’s lineage to the Negro Race), and it forced past First Presidencies to use references from past Authorities to justify the Doctrine. Here is a statement by the First Presidency given in 1949 about the reasons for the Priesthood Ban:

    August 17, 1949

    The attitude of the Church with reference to 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, and receive all the blessings

  29. grindael says:

    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.

    The First Presidency

    Notice here the First Presidency uses not one scriptural reference in the above Statement, they only quote Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff. Here are some salient points they make:

    1. The Priesthood ban was given by REVELATION, but it is not in the standard works
    2. The Priesthood ban is DOCTRINE
    3. The Priesthood ban is derived from another DOCTRINE (the war in heaven)
    4. The Priesthood ban would stay in effect until ‘all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood’
    5. The day would come when ‘all that race will be redeemed & possess the blessings’ all others have.

    This delimma of what is doctrine was not lost on Mr. Mauss:

    “There is no known record of any revelation

  30. grindael says:

    in this dispensation that either denies the priesthood to blacks or ties them to the lineage of the pharaohs. Nor is there any record that the Church had a policy of priesthood denial in the lifetime of Joseph Smith. There is much evidence that the policy developed after Brigham Young took charge of the church. Was that policy established by revelation? We may never know, but it is not necessary to believe so.”

    The changing definitions surrounding the black man in Mormon history raise the question, as few other issues have, of just what is authentic doctrine in the Church? That we had an official policy or practice of withholding the priesthood from blacks cannot be denied. The doctrinal rationale supporting that policy, however, is quite a separate matter. Note, in this connection, that the revelation of June 1978 actually changed only the policy and did not address any doctrine at all, except indirectly by overturning a common belief that priesthood for the blacks could come only in the next life. It is against this background that Presidents McKay and Brown and like-minded colleagues seem to have been correct all along (though perhaps beside the point) in considering the priesthood ban a policy and not a doctrine.”

    If the Ban was only a policy, like Mr. Mauss concludes, then why the Statement by the First Presidency that is is a DOCTRINE AND GIVEN BY REVELATION? Do we relegate First Presidency Statements to opinion? Where do Mormons draw the line on Doctrine and if one cannot believe the statements of the First Presidency, than who in the Church is to be believed? Mauss WANTS to believe the Ban only a policy, and that the policy was changed, but the statement by the First Presidency explicitly denies it is a POLICY. How do Mormons today reconcile the fact that a Doctrine of their Church existed, promulgated by a PROPHET (Brigham Young) who also was known to teach false doctrine (Adam-god)?

  31. grindael says:

    Is the discontinuance of Mormon Doctrine only one step in limiting members information on past Doctrines that are an embarrassment to the Church? The Church has to know that these issues won’t just go away. Aaron, in another forum made these astute observations [this was on God as a Sinner, but applies here also]:

    “Mormonism claims to be the most clear and bright beacon of doctrinal clarity, particularly on things that matter. Yet Mormonism’s traditional worldview has fostered confusion on the most important thing in all of reality. Mormonism has historically taught, “As man is God once was, as God is man may be.” The traditional and majority Mormon view is that while Jesus is unique and special for obtaining godhood in pre-mortality and for living a mortal life sinlessly, Heavenly Father obtained godhood more like we can: he experienced a mortality replete with sin, yet still progressed unto exaltation and godhood. Some Mormon authors essentially appeal to this “one eternal round” as a point of comfort for members. Whether or not the Mormon institution has an official position on the issue, it still bears responsibility for letting such blasphemy persist among members. Individual Mormons still bear responsibility for acquiescing to the institution’s lack of repentance over the issue.”

    He also makes this most significant point:

    “To obscure real problems within any religion by appealing to abstract notions of what is and what is not “official” would be cruel, because it would overlook individuals affected—individuals that Jesus loves.”

  32. grindael says:

    Is the Priesthood Ban Doctrine another false Doctrine of Brigham Young fostered in the racism of the time? It would sure seem so, in the light of Smith never having taught it, no scriptural basis, and the fact that it never went before the LDS Church for a vote in any scriptural form. This DOCTRINE was upheld and defended by countless Apostles & Prophets until virtually forced out of the Church by overwhelming worldview. So, what is Doctrine in the Mormon Church and who has the authority to speak it? Unfortunately this issue raises more questions than it answers in the Mormon Community.

    Mr. Mauss makes this telling statement in his article, which seems hard to defend in the light of Mormonsim’s claim to be the only true and living church on the face of the earth:

    “Official” positions or doctrines may be subsequently changed, repudiated, or proved wrong but are still official at the time they are promulgated.”

    If an ‘official’ statement by the Church Prophets can be ‘proved wrong’ quoting other “Prophets” REVELATIONS, than how does an acceptance of it by the Church Membership & Canonization of any of the Prophets ‘revelations’ guarantee it is from God? Again, this raises more questions than it answers.

  33. Rick B says:

    Jim, Go back and re-read the thread that I said the BoM contrdicts the Bible and it’s self. I said very clearly that I would submit a ton of info to Sharon about using as a topic, she wrote back and in a nut shell simply said, I should post it on my blog. I told you that I did that, and I told you that I provided a link. You have yet to visit my blog and reply. That to me shows you are a liar and could care less about the truth.

    Plus you a good example of LDS posting over trivial matters and nothing of real value. So lets try this again. Show me where I am lying, Is the info I said in that post? Yes or no? If it is, then I am telling the truth. Rick b

  34. falcon says:

    I wonder if McConkie would have confronted BY and told him that his Adam-god doctrine was just his opinion and as such held no weight in regards to being “doctrine”. Yea, that would have been a real scene! I think what we have here is a religion that does not have a man for all seasons. What we have is a religion fighting to stay afloat in this era where information on Mormonism is readily available to anyone who has a computer with internet access. It looks like McConkie is taking on the “crazy uncle living in the attic” status within Mormonism. There’s a whole lot of guys in that Mormon attack but unfortunately for Mormons, they won’t shut-up! They were prolific in their writing and having other people chronicle their every utterance. So in modern times, Mormonism has to try and stuff all of this information and suppress it but to no avail.
    So poor cousin Brucie’s book on Mormon doctrine has fallen out of favor with a religious hierarchy that keeps trying to bail water out of it’s leaky boat.

  35. liv4jc says:

    Speaking of Amazon book sales, I’ve been listening to the Mormon, Glenn Beck, quite closely recently. His most recent T.V. shows have been on Faith, Hope, and Charity. He has been intensely focused on the “Godliness” of the founders of this nation. I have been fascinated with the appearance of David Barton, and evangelical pastor and founder of Wallbuilders, an organization dedicated to revealing the Christianity of our founding fathers. Glenn has highlighted the fact that Congress commissioned the publishing of the bible to be used in schools and in government. He loves to say that the founders believed in “God”, but shies away, however, from saying, “Jesus” very often. Most recently he has focused on the faith of George Washington and Samuel Adams. On his first show about George Washington he brought in two Latter Day Saints, one of which was Earl Taylor from the LDS founded National Center for Constitutional Studies. Taylor and Beck regaled the audience with miraculous stories of Washington’s deliverance from harm at the hands of his enemies, how he was looked upon as being almost a god, and how an Indian Chief had prophecied that he would be a great chief of a nation some day. I felt like I was sitting at an LDS fireside hearing Mormon mythology. It was never mentioned, however, that Earl Taylor was LDS. Earl Taylor never said, “Jesus Christ” one time, nor did he talk about the gospel. On to my point, I guess. Glenn Beck claimed the other day that 17 books in the top 25 were about the faith of our founding fathers (this is from memory so don’t beat me up if I’m a little off). One of the books was about George Washington called Sacred Fire, written by the President of Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Peter Lillback.

  36. liv4jc says:

    The sales of Sacred Fire have skyrocketed as a result of Beck’s approval and call for all Americans to read it. Beck had Dr. Lillback on his show several days ago along with Jerry Falwell Jr., Chancellor of Liberty University, where Beck recently gave the commencement speech. Unlike Earl Taylor, Dr. Lillback did say that salvation is only through Jesus Christ, and it is an individual salvation, not a corporate salvation (like Mormonism teaches). Glenn Beck is surrounding himself with Evangelical Christians who highlight the fact that the foundation of our country is Christian, not deist (and definitely not Mormonism, which had yet to rear its ugly head). I wonder if Glenn Beck realizes that he is inadvertently telling Mormons to do historical research on the Christian founders of this nation who believed every word of the bible, and believed doctrine that Joseph Smith and Bruce McConkie in Mormon Doctrine said was apostasy? How many Mormons are going to begin reading about true, foundational biblical Christianity, as believed by men like George Washington and Samuel Adams, as a result of reading works cited as footnotes in the books Beck recommends? Those men were not Mormons and were not believers in the doctrine that Smith had to “restore”. Does Beck realize that the doctrine of our founders was despised by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce McConkie? If not, why has he not been better schooled by his Mormon teachers, and why does he not have Mormon Apostles on his show to point America to the “restored gospel” instead of Evangelical Pastors? That right there tells me how watered down modern LDS doctrine is.

  37. liv4jc says:

    What’s even crazier is that Beck has most recently been enamored with George Whitefield and has said, “I love this guy”! Beck has extolled the benefits of the Great Awakening in the founding of this nation, of which Whitefield played a huge part. George Whitefield was a Christian evangelist who preached to crowds numbering in the tens of thousands in England, Scotland, and the British Colonies later called the USA. He was also a Calvinist, which is about as far away from Mormonism as one can get! Why is Glenn Beck promoting a man who would be defined an apostate preacher by McConkie? I don’t think he knows any better. I think Beck thinks Mormons believe what Christian’s believe for the most part. Mormonism’s true doctrine is embarrassing and has been hidden from Mormons themselves! Remember, Beck became a Mormon in the late 90’s and has probably been shielded from true Mormon doctrine in the same way the church is removing McConkie’s doctrine today. How many Mormons that watch Beck’s show are going to head to Amazon to buy works by Dr. Lillback and others that expose them to true Christian doctrine? Better yet, how many Mormons are going to read works about, and by, George Whitefield based upon Beck’s love for the man? The LDS church better get a handle on one of their star converts before the LDS church experiences a Great Awakening of its own. Praise God!

  38. liv4jc says:

    I wonder what Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, and Bruce McConkie would think of Glenn Beck telling his audience, some of which are LDS, to read sermons like this,

    preached by George Whitefield. Read it and see how many apostate doctrines according to Bruce McConkie you can pull out. Jesus and the Father are One God. Jesus is the same God as the Father. Salvation is not universal, but for the elect only. Salvation is not in any way merited by works i.e., you do your best, then Jesus makes up the rest. The law has been satisfied in Christ. All I can say is, “Go Glenn, go! Keep telling people to read George Whitefield! Mormons and the other unsaved alike!”

  39. jackg says:


    Thanks for the information I requested.


    You ask a very interesting question: “How do Mormons today reconcile the fact that a Doctrine of their Church existed, promulgated by a PROPHET (Brigham Young) who also was known to teach false doctrine (Adam-god)?”

    This is where the “it’s not official church doctrine” disclaimer comes in. It’s all rather convenient, really. Or, the thinking will be verbalized like this: “Well, man wasn’t ready for such a celestial doctrine, so he took it away from the earth,” or some such statement. I can’t see that Mormons could use the “line upon line…” explanation since it’s really “add a line, then subtract a few lines, then add another line, etc.”

    I checked out the prices of some of these books on Amazon, and you can get some of them for a penny!!!


  40. falcon says:

    You just echoed what I’d been thinking because I caught a couple of the parts of those programs Beck did. As I watched the one about Whitefield I kept asking myself, “Does Beck know anything about Mormonism?” I mean he was doing back flips for George Whitefield. The evangelicals he has had on there have been no holds barred guys.
    Since Beck is really into history, I keep hoping he’ll look into the history of Mormonism. There’s no way the guy could remain a Mormon and learn what’s out there about the sham and a fraud prophet Smith. Once a Mormon learns the truth they either have to do a mind snap or else stay in Mormonism based on financial, familial or social reasons.

  41. Jay K says:

    “Does Beck know anything about Mormonism?”

    Do you know anything about Beck? This guy is pure show! Show, show, show, nothing more.

    Forbes has an article in a recent magazine about Beck Inc. For a quick summary/analogy, Scientology is to religion as Beck is to politics.

    And as for religion, why should he care? From what I recall from the article, his wife was his afterlife from drugs. She introduced him to the Mormon church from there. In other words, yes. Instead of a mind snap, he’d likely stay in for familial reasons.

  42. On an unrelated topic, some of us are discussing some things over Google Wave, a service which has now been opened to the public. If you’d like to join us then join at and send your e-mail to [email protected]

  43. falcon says:

    I do kind of like it when Beck bites his lower lip and cries. I wonder if he learned that at the testimony meetings down at the ward. From what I hear some of the guys have the shakey voice down pat.
    It’s all show biz folks!

  44. Rick B says:

    OJ, Where did you go? You have yet to visit my blog, I gave you the evidence you asked for. Seems your a typical Mormon, not really caring about truth and only defending a man made church and position. Rick b

  45. falcon says:

    I think that there are Mormons who just get tired of defending the indefensible and figure what’s the point. They’re happy in Mormonism, they’ve reconciled everything at the emotional level and the wards provide a perfect setting for them all to reinforce the fantasy. And besides, within the closed set of Mormonism everything is bliss……on the outside.
    Could you imagine being in a religious group where the leaders are like enforcers? Mormonism thrives on ignorance and control and the funny thing, a lot of these folks dig it! If Mormons ever lose faith in the organization and the leaders, their faith evaporates. That’s why they have to come up with all of this spin regarding the down grading of McConkie’s book on Mormon doctrine.

  46. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Freedom of Expression Edition! | Main Street Plaza

  47. Molly says:

    Do any of you now anything about the LDS Church? It sounds to me like you have no idea what you are talking about. Or maybe you do. In any case is sounds like none of you believe in it. So why do you waste your time talking about it? Did you grow up in the church and have parents that forced it on you? Did you hear something about the LDS Church and what it teaches and completely disagree with it? What ever the case may be my advice to you would be to move on with your life. I was born into the religion and I have attended many other churches. Some times your opinion about what other people believe or as you see it choose to be blinded to doesn't matter. I've found so many of these opinionated sights. Get a life! Focus on what you believe and leave them to their fall if that's what the case may be.

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