But is it official?

I recently finished reading through the entire series of “Teachings of Presidents of the Church” gospel doctrine manuals, which have been regularly used in LDS Sunday School classes since the late 1990s. With the exception of the current prophet Thomas S. Monson and three other prophets, each president of the church has had his teachings compiled into a book. Authorized by the First Presidency and printed by the church as part of its correlated curriculum, the twelve books currently in print are meant to instill the basic teachings of Mormonism into the LDS people.

I realize that I might be a little weird because I actually read these manuals, which I do as part of my research. During the past two years, I have systematically gone through each chapter of the George Albert Smith and Lorenzo Snow manuals and provided commentary. (See them here: George Albert Smith; Lorenzo Snow)

DeseretBookRecently I went into a Deseret bookstore to purchase the newest manual that is based on Joseph Fielding Smith’s teachings. A young female clerk saw me looking around the main floor and asked if I needed help. I thought, why not? So, holding up the new manual, I asked if I could trust the teachings found within its pages. She looked at me quizzically. “Of course, why do you ask?”

“I’m not a member of your church,” I said, “but I want to know that if these teachings—as old as they are and authored by leaders who are no longer living—can be trusted one hundred percent as being doctrinally true for today.”

To make my point, I pointed to the vast array of the regular books on the wall, many of them written by prominent leaders in her church. I told her that all of these books—placed far away from the manuals—appeared to have disclaimers listed on their title pages. She was curious, so we walked over to where books like The Articles of Faith, The Miracle of Forgiveness, and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith were located.

Now, mind you, these labels are often not found in older editions published by Deseret Books. But something like the following is written at the beginning of these current books:

“This work is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The views expressed herein are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church or of Deseret Book Company.”

The employee, who was in her early 20s, had recently returned from her 18-month mission and had only converted to Mormonism at the age of 18, even though she spent her entire life in Utah. She looked closer at the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith book, apparently surprised. I flipped to page 345 where Smith preached how God was an exalted man.

“Is this teaching true?” I asked. “Absolutely,’ she responded.

To this, I asked, “Since there could be errors in this book or it might have just been Smith’s opinion, is it necessary that I have personal revelation in order to know that what was written is true?” To make my point, I pulled out several other books—all written by her church’s General Authorities—and showed her what I call the “warning label.”

Why would anybody buy these potentially problematic books if there is even a slight chance that they could lead people astray in their teachings? Wouldn’t it be better just to stick with the manuals and not have to trust an individual author who could be wrong?

Interestingly enough, this woman is currently reading Kimball’s The Miracle of Forgiveness. We opened it up, and it too had the label. She seemed speechless, then finally said, “Maybe they put that language in there because people can misinterpret our leaders’ words.”

“So then nobody can misinterpret the manuals?” I asked.

She didn’t have an answer and graciously admitted that I had a point. After all, this is a church that claims to have authority from God. It is supposed to be the restoration of God’s church, brought back by Joseph Smith in 1830. Evangelical Christians are often asked where their prophets and apostles are located. Yet in a bookstore that is run by the church, the official manuals—which, by the way, are located in the back of the store behind a wall—don’t seem to be the most popular selections. The store was packed that Friday afternoon, but in the 30 minutes I spent looking through the available manuals, I was the only one perusing this section of the store. If the manuals were more popular, perhaps they would place them on special display tables in the front.

The saleslady admitted that, while she regularly attends the Sunday School classes, she couldn’t remember the name of the president whose teachings are being currently covered. (Answer: Lorenzo Snow). “I just follow along in the book during class,” she said. She also sheepishly admitted that she hasn’t read any of Snow’s manual on her own, adding that “nobody does.” (Then she laughed nervously and said, “Wow, that sounded wrong.”)

Later in September, Bill McKeever and I will be spending a week on our radio show/podcasts talking about these manuals and showing you some of the incredible quotes that I have been able to dig up. Until the church puts warning labels into their manuals, I assume that I can trust these books to tell me exactly what “official” Mormon doctrine is all about.

This entry was posted in Authority and Doctrine, LDS Church and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to But is it official?

  1. Ralph says:

    Hi Eric,

    Just a small mistake you have made – the manuals you are referring to are for Priesthood/Relief Society, not Sunday School; that is Church History/D&C this year.

  2. faithoffathers says:


    The manuals are typically provided by wards to adult members. So it makes sense that these books are not jumping off the shelves at LDS book stores- everybody already has them.

    This is a matter that critics of the church spend a fair amount of time ridiculing- “but is that official.” They do not like whatever process or structure there is in the church, or lack thereof, used to determine “official doctrine.”

    What our critics do not realize is that they probably capitalize on this matter more than most members in discussing our doctrine. From my perspective, it seems the critics augment or magnify whatever lack of clarity there is in the attempt to 1) make the church and its leaders look unorganized or unclear, and 2) allow them to use whatever statements they pick and choose in their arguments against the church.

    I really don’t see a problem in the church’s official doctrine. There are the revelations which are foundational to the church- these are in the form of our canon (Book of Mormon, The Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price). Beyond this, there is a fairly large spectrum of “officiality” or weight placed on ideas and statements. On top of this list is the official statements from the First Presidency (Proclamation to the World on the Family, The Living Christ, Declaration on the Priesthood 1978, etc.). On the other end of the spectrum, our critics love to pick statements from various members that really have no weight in declaring official doctrine- Bushman, Joseph Fielding McConkie (quoted to me here yesterday- he is a son of a former apostle), and others.

    I actually appreciate this spectrum considering what I believe is the commission for all of us to use our brains and the process of personal revelation to answer questions we may have. The most basic of doctrinal question should be clear to all members. Every member is provided with every resource they need to understand salvation and obtain their own testimonies and witness of saving truths.

    I think the fact that the critics like to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the “deep doctrine” or things about which nobody knows much about makes the lack of official doctrine seem more profound than it really is. I often hear the demanding and naive claim that “if you guys really have a prophet, why doesn’t he answer this question about God’s earthly experience (or Kolob, or whatever far out topic). The degree to which a person sees the lack of officiality of doctrinal statements on these topics seems to be indirectly proportional to that person’s understanding and commitment to the more basic doctrines and principles of the gospel. In other words, it seems to be those people who have issues with the basic doctrines that raise these concerns about the deeper doctrines.

    I have been studying the gospel for decades. I feel absolutely no issues exist for me in the need for the stamp of approval on any topics in my study and search for truth. Maybe the fact that not all doctrines are “black and white” is a good thing considering the fact that so many of our critics seem so anxious to make our leaders “an offender for a word.”

  3. falcon says:

    Ralph….buddy, where have you been?
    I pray for you all the time hoping that you will come to a knowledge of the saving grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I think of your family too, the immediate and extended ones.
    I know you have a good heart and are earnestly seeking the Lord, however you are trapped in a very bad situation when it comes to the religion you have sworn allegiance to.
    Your soft heart, while it can be an asset to you, can also keep you from making the move towards God that I believe you know you need to make.
    I believe in the power of God to change peoples’ situation so that they will walk freely into the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Great to have you show-up here today. It gives me continued hope regarding your salvation and that of your family.

  4. erusselljohnson says:

    Ralph, thank you. You are correct, my error. The Teachings of Presidents of the Church series happens on the second and third Sundays of the month in the Preisthood/Relief Society meetings. Sunday School is separate.

  5. MJP says:

    My problem with Mormon authority is not who ultimately has authority, although that is a great question in and of itself, but rather the plain statements– not grey ones– made by previous prophets or other clear leaders, that are now denounced. The one by McConkie, the reference I believe FoF is referring to, stated that our salvation is a DIY project. This McConkie is not a slouch in the church– if his dad’s the prophet, then sure he has some understanding of the faith. This does not mean he is right, but his opinion has some weight, certainly more than Joe Blow off the street or internet, as it may be.

    Yet, his quote is tossed aside. So it is with so many people who are indeed education in matters of LDS faith. If it does not suite the present purpose, it can be dismissed. LDS don’t even say these people are wrong. They just sweep the quotes under the rug. I’d rather LDS address the quotes, even to say they are wrong on a particular issue, than sweep them under a rug.

  6. Kate says:

    My problem was not having an official word of the church to go on. I was left floundering as to what was really doctrine and what wasn’t. What the church really teaches as true and what I had wrong. Which parts of Mormon history was true and which parts critics were making up. There was so much contradiction and having a clear OFFICIAL version of every topic would have been incredibly helpful. When I started researching I was disgusted at how everything I studied had a disclaimer stating that it didn’t necessarily represent the church and may not be official. It’s the church that makes this an issue. I makes them look as if they have something to hide. If you really do have the truth, stand up loud and proud, don’t leave members floundering. If you really have a prophet who speaks for God, tell him to speak loudly, state what is true and doctrine. The fact is, we can’t trust anything they say. If members are left to decipher when prophets are speaking as men and when they are speaking as a prophet, what is real doctrine and what isn’t, I say they could do just as well on their own.

    The LDS church has to make that disclaimer on most things because if they truly came out with what they believe, half of what past prophets taught would be tossed out the window and those prophets would have to be declared false or fallen prophets. This is the heart of it. They are backed into a corner and it’s better to let members run willy nilly through it all, picking and choosing which parts to believe, which is why no 2 members think the same on certain things and have off the wall beliefs about any given topic. We have seen this with the LDS posters here over the years. They don’t agree on much of anything. I thought God was not a God of confusion.

  7. Kate says:

    One last thought, why would I trust a church who is silent and leaves me to defend the faith, then turns around and says nothing I say counts. It isn’t official. They don’t back up any of their members or their apologists, yet they demand loyalty and trust from members and apologists.

  8. jaxi says:

    “I think the fact that the critics like to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the “deep doctrine” or things about which nobody knows much about makes the lack of official doctrine seem more profound than it really is.”

    When I evaluate any faith I always start with the deeper doctrine. The core is the most important part. What is the center? This isn’t just something that I do with Mormonism, as if I am being unfair. I have approached all religions in this manner. I listened to this podcast of this man that was a Hare Krishna monk, who became Christian. He loved all the external things of the faith. But the deeper he got, the more he learned about what was at the center of his faith and the more there was that confused and disturbed him. I completely related to his experience. I loved being Mormon. But the more I learned about the core of the LDS faith, the more there was that confused, disturbed, and out right upset me. And the fact that the Church seems to say, “Don’t worry about that, focus on all the superficial stuff”, the “basic doctrine’, as FoF puts it, was also troublesome. The leaders of the monk I mentioned did the same things whenever he asked deeper, more penetrating questions. The great thing about traditional Christianity is that there is no ugly core. The deeper I go the more beautiful things become, because Christianity is actually from God. The closer I get to God by delving deeply into the Christian faith the more amazing I realize He is. Dig deep people, see if their is a man behind the curtain, don’t let all the external things fool you.

  9. falcon says:

    I would suggest that the disclaimer be placed on the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham and the Pearl of Great Price. While they are at it, they should also put a disclaimer on the D&C and probably the Journal of Discourses.
    I would suggest a disclaimer on Joseph Smith’s eight versions of his first vision story and probably any statement endorsing polygamy. The LDS church should also probably have a disclaimer ready for those going through the endowment ceremony and the wedding ritual.
    I think they should put a disclaimer on a sign on their temples.
    Also, when they have general conference going on, they should have a little crawler at the bottom of the TV screen disclaiming everything being said.
    The entire LDS church needs to be stamped with a disclaimer!

  10. erusselljohnson says:

    FaithofFathers says, “I really don’t see a problem in the church’s official doctrine. There are the revelations which are foundational to the church- these are in the form of our canon (Book of Mormon, The Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price). Beyond this, there is a fairly large spectrum of “officiality” or weight placed on ideas and statements. On top of this list is the official statements from the First Presidency (Proclamation to the World on the Family, The Living Christ, Declaration on the Priesthood 1978, etc.).”

    Here’s the problem. This is a church that claims to be the restored church. Fine. So according to the above, we need the church for her standard works (check, already have them), official statements from the First Presidency (there’s just a handful in total), and what else? I mean, really, if all we need Monson and the other 14 men are for extremely rare occasions, then why do we need them today? Meanwhile, we’re told that we can’t trust McConkie’s son or Bushman? (Did Bushman ever claim to have any authority? He’s just a historian anyway and, unless I’m mistaken, never said he was a theologian.)

    That’s fine, a person can minimize anything these guys say or write. But when it comes to the teaching of the LDS Church–through conferences and manuals–I don’t think a Mormon can say it’s not meaningful. One manual states, “We can learn about Jesus by listening to the words of the living prophets. The Lord has told us to ‘give heed’ to the words and commandments of His prophets and to receive those words as if they are from the Lord Himself (see D&C 21:4–5). The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the mouthpiece of God on the earth. Through his sermons and printed messages he reveals God’s directions for us today” (The Latter-day Saint Woman Part B, p. 6).

    I have tons of quotes explaining how such books as Gospel Principles, True to the Faith, and Preach My Gospel, among others, are completely trustworthy. In addition, the Mormon people are continually told (over and over again) to study the Ensign, particularly the conference editions.

    Outside books, including The Miracle of Forgivenss, are occasionally recommended from the conference pulput. However, these are far and few between. The official platform of the LDS Chruch is very clear that it is by studying the words coming forth from the church and believing what the leaders says to be true that gets a person closer to God. If that’s the case, I will continue to study these resources in my attempt to better understand the LDS faith rather than just taking any one-in-four-million-Melchizedek-priesthood-holder’s word for it.

  11. faithoffathers says:


    Is your post in response to my comments? Is there something in my post you are disagreeing with?

    Because that is not clear.

    Did I in any way suggest that the manuals, general conference talks, Ensign, books, etc. are not to be trusted? I spoke of a spectrum of officiality from the standards works and official statements on one end to opinions of folks who have no authority whatsoever. I never stated where conference talks, books, etc. are on that spectrum. So it seems a little odd to suggest I sought in any way to give the impression that the things you mention are not of value or not to be trusted.

    My point about Bushman and McConkie’s son is that it was a critic who sought to bind me to an opinion of his.

  12. falcon says:

    For a religion that supposedly has these hot apostles and prophets, the SLC LDS Mormon sect sure has to do a lot of disclaimers. Why would anyone believe anything these nimrods say starting with Joseph Smith? It’s the biggest ruse and con job in religion today. The poor saps that buy-into-it actually think they have the answers to all the pressing questions in the natural and spiritual realms. And then we find out that the LDS church puts all these disclaimers on what these guys write. Mormons are told to follow their leaders and at the same time the church is basically saying to ignore what they say or at least don’t take it too seriously. But keep sending in your 10% to keep the coffers of the corporation flush with cash.
    Mormons would do well to go back to the Bible and read God’s revelation to His real prophets and apostles. By doing so they will have access to the truth and not have to worry about a disclaimer.

  13. PaleRider says:

    Falcon-Mormons would do well to go back to the Bible and read God’s revelation to His real prophets and apostles. By doing so they will have access to the truth and not have to worry about a disclaimer.

    PR-Outstanding advice. In fact, like Brother Brigham, I recommend the following:

    “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test…. With us the Bible is the first book, the Book of Mormon comes next…. There is no clash in the principles revealed in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants….” (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe, 1978, page 126)

    There are many Christians within the Mormon system that are leaving in significant numbers due to the increased exposure and access to information that reveals the whole narrative, not just the polished, overtly sanitized version of events that our LDS friends attempt to regurgitate ad nauseum. So go ahead take up your Bible! I did and the Truth has set me free.

  14. falcon says:

    Did Brigham Young really say that? Not that I doubt you but think about the implications of such a statement. It could just be more Mormon mis-direction or hyperbole when you consider some of Young’s other statements. Not only that but think about his Adam-God doctrine. Where in the Bible might we be able to find that. Young must have been counting on no one actually following-up and examining Mormon doctrine in light of the Biblical revelation. In fact what’s this LDS claim that the Bible was corrupted and couldn’t really be trusted? That’s how these faux prophets and apostles are able to proclaim whatever they want and when it’s inconsistent with the Biblical message simply say the Bible was translated wrong or deliberately changed to leave out all of the Mormonism.

    Not ever have been a Mormon, I don’t know what it’s like to “think” Mormon. It must be incredibly liberating to find freedom in Jesus and come to understand that God’s Word does indeed contain the fullness of the Gospel.

  15. MJP says:

    As I stated, they (LDS) try to push aside learned members of their faith offering their interpretation of their faith. No, what these folks say may not be official, but what does that get them? All I see it gets them is the ability to not say it is official.

    The narrative sounds like this: “Brother X says this, and even though he is educated in our faith, what he says isn’t official, and therefore, its not what we believe. I won’t however, say he is wrong, I just don’t want to be bound by what he says and how he interprets our faith.”

    Is it just me, or does this sounds really silly?

  16. falcon says:

    I would think that at some point those in the LDS church would figure out that they don’t need those who claim to be apostles and prophets.
    If a disclaimer has to be placed on what these guys write, then what good are they? Go all the way back to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Smith’s view of the nature of God went through four revisions. His first vision went through eight revisions. His claim that polygamy needed to be practiced was shelved. Young’s doctrines, specifically Adam-God, which was his crack at defining who God is was shelved by later leaders. Then we have the ban on blacks in the priesthood that now comes with a disclaimer that no one in authority knows where the ban came from. We’ve seen nearly 4,000 changes in the BoM which was suppose to be perfect; with changes effecting basic doctrine. Finally there are the temple rituals which were suppose to be eternal and sacred but which were lifted from the Free Masons, have been changed.

    Why would anyone put up with a religion that claims to have the answers but can’t seem to stay on track regarding very basic beliefs and practices.
    I rejoice that my faith and confidence are in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior and not in some empty religion.

  17. Kenneth says:


    Other than the standard works, do you view any Church documents as completely free of error?

  18. falcon says:

    Hee, Hee, Hee,

    You gave me my early morning laugh! Way to smoke out a totally diluted follower of the Smith fantasy.

    Let me back up. Was the BoM “free from error”. How many changes including those directly related to basic doctrine? That’s been well documented and presented on MC various times. That’s just the changes of a book that is an entire farce.
    The BoA, I’m rolling on the floor now. Even though our poor misguided friend can’t bring himself to see it, a comparison of the document that was “translated” and the end product demonstrate no resemblance in the two texts.

    Should we throw in the Joseph Smith “translation” of the KJV of the Bible. That was a pretty good trick.
    Oh and BTW, what about Smith’s foretelling of the future?

  19. PaleRider says:

    I was strolling through the world wide web of Mormonism and found this beauty. I wonder where this tidbit fits into the whole issue of official vs. non-official doctrine. Perhaps our Mormon friends can nudge those who are struggling with their theology into the right direction. Enjoy.


  20. Silkworm says:

    Some of you may have seen this post. It was written by a regular member of the LDS church AND IS HIS OPINION ONLY. But he does try to explain and does a good job and makes some very good points. And he was asked to write it.

    It is called: Navigating Living Waters – Helping Our Evangelical Friends Make Sense of “Mormon Doctrine”.


  21. Mike R says:

    Sorry Silkworm but I for one have little interest another Mormon’s opinion . Have you ever
    heard of Mormon General Authorities ?

  22. Silkworm says:

    Suit yourself, Mike R. Go ask a General Authority.

  23. falcon says:

    Go ask a General Authority?
    And what exactly would a GA tell anyone other than don’t leave the LDS church and keep paying your 10%.
    Mike’s right. The LDS church has left their members hanging out there to speculate endlessly. But as far as I can see, that is what Mormonism is especially when it comes to the apostles and prophets past and present. They even disagree on who God is. Joseph Smith couldn’t even settle on anything but instead enjoyed endless speculation. As we’ve pointed out, he had a progression of four different views of who god is. In-the-end he settled on the Egyptian fertility god Min! What a joke. Anyone who spends one more dime or contributes one more minute of their time to this false religious system after becoming aware of these things is a fool.

  24. falcon says:


    The whole thing just freaked me out. I feel like I should go and take a shower. And what would our LDS friends tell us? Well it would be something like, “These are deep spiritual truths that only the truly spiritually mature can understand”.
    Here’s a quote from one of the “saints” commenting on what is said in the video:

    “What a wonderful reminder that we *do* talk of Her, the Goddess who taught us at Her knee, and asked us to take the next step in becoming Her equals.”

    These LDS babes think they are going to become the next Mormon Homecoming Queen.

    These poor lost souls!

  25. Rick B says:

    Silkworm, as usual you are wasting our time.
    I tried once to get a hold of some high ranking official in the church, I was told, talk to a missionary that is what they are for. I explained that they cannot answer my questions, I was told that was to bad.

    Tell you what silkworm, You LDS here are always saying we are wrong and dont have a clue, so lets do this. You contact your church, tell them you know a non-lds who wants to talk with one of the GA’s and ask them a question. I will even give you my phone number here on this blog to pass onto the GA and have them call me. I bet money you or any other LDS here wont even try.

    Why wont you try? Because for one, you know the GA’s wont waste their time talking to a non-LDS member like me, and two, you guys really dont care about the truth or us “Lost” Souls as much as you claim you do.

    You get a hold of a GA and have them talk to me, and it needs to be verifiable that it is a GA na dnot one of you guys claiming your a GA, And I for one will start taking you guys more seriously. If You cannot get them to talk to me, or you wont even try, then why should we/I believe anything you say?

  26. Brewed says:

    Wow.. I watched the video PR posted and literally felt ill…

    Silkworm, I appreciate your effort to make LDS doctrine more clear but to be honest, I think we have all heard what that blog has to say many a time. It doesn’t make things clearer. What is or isn’t official doctrine changes depending on the mormon. Take for example the video PR gave us a link to. To some obviously devout LDS the video is very much official and doctrinally sound. To others, it’s just a clip of numerous LDS speakers with no doctrinal ramifications. It all would seem to be a matter of opinion… I don’t care if it is “official” or not. Christ said you would know if something was good by the fruit it bares. To me, if the fruit of the LDS church is garbage like that video, I want nothing to do with it.

  27. grindael says:

    Suit yourself, Mike R. Go ask a General Authority.

    LOL. We don’t have to. We have their words in print. That is what this is all about. Silky, you are truly hilarious. The only ones that don’t take their words seriously are Mormon trolls who live in the bubble of denial. I find that priceless.

  28. grindael says:

    Silky sent us to this blog. Here is the very first point,

    A book does not become canonized in the LDS Church until it has been presented to the entire membership of the Church and sustained as such. I believe the last time this occurred was in relation to some passages in the Doctrine and Covenants. All other sources of doctrine must be tested against this canon.

    Right out the gate this person lies. Why was polygamy never tested against the 1833-1876 Cannon of scripture which said that marriage was between one man and one woman? Section 132 was not added and voted upon until 1876. From 1830 to 1876, LDS scripture was consistent in prohibited polygamy: Book of Mormon: Jacob, chapter 2; Doctrine and Covenants, Section 101 (removed in 1876).

    So what gives? Oh, I get it. Mormons back then lived in a different reality from Mormons now. Mormons now have forgotten the past, and now it is anything we believe NOW, regardless of the historical facts is the truth, not what really happened. No need to go further. I’m sure the rest of it is filled with many such lies.

    Nice try Silky, but we’re not buying this tripe.

  29. falcon says:

    The really funny thing about the Heavenly Mother video is that these folks act like there’s only “one” HM that the Mormon god of this world, the Heavenly Father, has. HF unquestionably has more than one wife. Don’t these LDS folks get it? So which HM are they the product of? Joseph Smith scored at least thirty-three wives and he was at it a relatively short time. How many wives did Brigham Young have in his harem?
    So, as usual, these women especially don’t consider the possibility that they will be sharing the HM throne with some other queen, goddess babe if they should precede their husbands in death and he gets himself another wife.

    Next, where does this teaching/doctrine come from? It isn’t in the Bible. It isn’t in the writings of the Church Fathers. It isn’t in the history and tradition of the Christian faith.
    Does this whole HM teaching come with a disclaimer. As far as we know it’s just basically speculation.

    Here’s something for both Christians and LDS to chew on. Do we need a disclaimer?

    “While there is no reference to a Heavenly Mother within the standard works (canon) of Mormonism, it is a commonly held belief and an integral part of the traditional Mormon worldview.”
    “The degree to which some academic Mormons are willing to kick against basic Mormon tradition can be surprising. Paul Owen, a non-Mormon, writes (see http://go.mrm.org/owen-on-heavenly-mother),
    “Some Mormons understand our “heavenly parents” in terms of the Father and the Holy Spirit for example… I wasn’t denying that the doctrine of a Heavenly Mother is officially taught. However it has never been officially defined or interpreted in terms of God the Father having a wife (though that is commonly assumed). Some Mormons understand Heavenly Mother as the Holy Ghost, others as a reference to a feminine aspect within the being of God, and I have even seen it suggested that Jesus is the Mother figure, as the one through whom mankind was created in the image of God (”let us make man in our image” being applied to the Father and the Son)… The LDS Church has never defined the Heavenly Mother language in a prescriptive manner [note: this is not true; see the first quote given above]. It is not an official teaching that God has a wife. The view that the “Heavenly Mother” actually refers to the feminine aspect of the being of God was advocated by Erastus Snow, himself an apostle. The language used in the statements of the First Presidency on the Origin of Man and Evolution (which vaguely speak of “the universal Father and Mother”) are ambiguous enough to allow for this alternative interpretation…”
    “I know for a fact that Roger Keller, who teaches religion at BYU, does not believe God has a wife. At least that’s what he told me a few years ago. Nor does Blake Ostler (a very well known and respected Mormon theologian). It was Richard Sherlock (an LDS philosophy professor at Utah State University) whom I believe I first heard suggest the possibility that Jesus could be our heavenly mother, given his co-participation with the Father in creation (”let us make man in our image . . . So God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them”). It is interesting for instance, that in 1 Corinthians 11:3, Paul grounds the ordering of the genders in the relationality within the Trinity between the Father and the Son.”

    For more see: http://www.mrm.org/heavenly-mother

  30. falcon says:

    Here’s a great quote from the above source and I think captures accurately what this thread related to “disclaimer” is all about.

    “I don’t deny that the language of Heavenly Parents and the Universal Father and Mother suggests that God has a wife. Likewise, the fact that (they teach) God the Father has a physical body suggests that he was once a man like us. But suggestions and prescribed teachings with official definitions are not exactly the same thing. When a doctrine is not officially defined, it allows LDS theology considerable room for creative engagement with the wider theological tradition. When you participate in forums like the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology (as I do most every year), and enter into open conversation with those sorts of people, who are very much insiders (not liberal LDS apostates), it becomes apparent that the boundaries of “official” Mormon doctrine are a lot more fluid and flexible than evangelical apologetic literature would convey.”

    I think the money quote is “…….it becomes apparent that the boundaries of ‘official’ Mormon doctrine are a lot fore fluid and flexible than evangelical apolegetic literature would convey.”

    Now this is from a religion that wants us to believe that they have the answers. They claim that their leaders are hearing from God. They use to insist that their leaders had “seen” Jesus.
    It’s pretty plain that these leaders are basically ordinary men who are just sort of messing around playing at religion.
    The sad thing is that the LDS members about faint in ecstasy when ever they hear the voice of their prophet Thomas Monson.
    What a sad state of affairs this is and to think that the LDS folks are putting their faith in trust in these leaders. Jesus doesn’t come with a disclaimer. I’d suggest the LDS turn to the Bible and Christ, obtain eternal life and a whole lot of freedom from an oppressive and false religious system.

  31. falcon says:

    Think of it; endless speculation regarding what could be called the LDS doctrine of the godhead. There are those who prefer to wedge the Mormon heavenly mother into the doctrine of the nature of the Mormon god. Mormons have had several goes at the doctrine of the nature of god since 1830. Joseph Smith took a shot at it several times finally settling on a scheme where by men could become gods supposedly just like millions and billions of gods in the universe. Smith even did a very embarrassing thing by including a facsimile of his latest god in the BoA. Unfortunately for the “prophet”, the being he identified as “god” was really the Egyptian fertility god Min. OOPS, do-over anyone.
    Well sure, we’ll have a do-over. Brigham Young stepped-up to the plate and announced a new doctrine where by the Mormon god was really Adam and Eve was one of this gods many wives. The LDS defenders can’t run away from this fast enough slapping it with any number of labels from the prophets opinion to the current favorite, “folk doctrine”.
    I guess it’s just easier to do what the LDS church is now doing and slap a disclaimer on everything their leaders say.

  32. Old man says:

    As Brewed mentioned in a previous topic, Asherah, the goddess wife of Baal & known as ‘The queen of Heaven’ was worshipped alongside God in a temple built in Egypt by apostate Jews. Although Asherah was a Cannanite goddess she was at one time, fairly early, in the evolution of the Jewish faith, adopted & worshipped by Israel, no doubt because of their failure to rid Canaan of all traces of paganism after the exodus. At that time she was referred to as Gods wife. When those facts are coupled with Falcons assessment of Smiths translation of the Book of Abraham I don’t think it’s too big a stretch of the imagination to believe that the introduction by Smith of ‘a heavenly mother’ into LDS doctrine was a direct result of his involvement with occult forces.
    I may be very wide of the mark but I believe it’s something to think about.

  33. Rick B says:

    So Silkworm,
    You or any of the LDS trining to get a hold of a GA for me? or was I correct, you guys just complain about us and you dont really care about us as you claim?

Leave a Reply