On October 24th, the LDS First Presidency (led by Prophet Thomas S. Monson) wrote several letters that were to be read in Mormon Sunday services around the world. According to examiner.com, the first letter was “likely spurred by Boyd K. Packer’s most recent General Conference talk entitled ‘Cleansing the Inner Vessel.’ Church Headquarters has been receiving an increased amount of correspondence from its members about doctrinal issues. Because of this influx of correspondence, the First Presidency reminded and encouraged LDS church members to utilize their local church authorities – bishops, branch presidents, stake presidents, etc — before resorting to contacting Church Headquarters.”
In other words, the Mormon laity was told to quit bothering their church leadership on issues related to doctrine. We can only wonder why the church is apparently receiving so many inquiries. Could it be that Christians are asking their Mormon friends and family members difficult questions who are unable to provide satisfactory answers? Regardless, the leadership apparently feels the number of questions is overwhelming their resources. I just can’t imagine Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Malachi writing in the Old Testament, “You people are asking too many questions. We’re too busy doing other things, so leave us alone.” Yet this appears to be the attitude of Monson and his two advisers.
Since Monson and his counselors are supposed to have a direct connection with God—they are, after all, leaders of God’s supposedly restored church—it would seem that they have the necessary resources at their disposal to provide answers. Just direct the general authorities speaking at the biannual general conferences to deal with these befuddling issues. But Monson and the other leaders weren’t born yesterday. They know that deferring to local leaders means the hierarchy can distance themselves from any answers brought forth by bishops, stake presidents, and others below the general authority level. Their answers can not be considered official doctrine, so if they come up with unpopular responses or even contradict Mormon teaching, nobody will call their answers “official doctrine.” Letting the lower leaders take the heat keeps the pressure off those in Salt Lake City. Smart move.
I can only imagine the questions being asked that the LDS leadership would rather avoid, including:
- Is it true that Joseph Smith was married to some 34 different women at the same time, 11 of whom were already married to other men and 11 who were teenagers?
- How do I answer my Christian friends who have been showing me this DNA video saying there is no scientific connection between Native Americans and the Lamanites talked about in the Book of Mormon?
- President Monson, there must be archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon story, but I’m being told there’s none. Can you please direct me to these artifacts?
- Is it true that three of the apostles have been spiritually married in the temple to second wives for eternity?
- If we believe in free agency, then why is our church trying to buy a street in Manti in order to keep Christians from sharing their faith near the pageant grounds?
- I’ve been shown some very difficult verses in the Bible about salvation, as my Christian friends say it’s possible to know that we are forgiven because it’s not based on my efforts. It seems to contradict the way I’ve been taught. How can I answer?
- Why does our church emphasize Gethsemane for the atonement rather than the cross?
- I need direction on the Virgin Birth. We don’t believe there was some type of physical union between Heavenly Father and Mary, do we?
Are you able to see why the church had to write this letter?