Questions to Gospel Answers
What is Mormon Doctrine?
The word "doctrine" really
doesn't have a solid meaning within an LDS context. What is Mormon doctrine?
Where can one go to find it? Can doctrine change from year to year, from one
generation to the next? Who is the author of doctrine, man or God? Is God a
changeable God or is He the same yesterday, today, and forever?
Mormon doctrine exists in the oral tradition of its members and can be traced
back to statements made by church leaders. Some of this doctrine is accepted by
the current leadership while other doctrines have been rejected. Some doctrines
are only accepted as such when the leader that espouses a certain doctrine is
alive. The word "doctrine" is without demonstrable meaning in an LDS
There is NO official source for LDS church doctrines today. Sure the Standard Works make up a big part of this but Mormon Doctrine goes beyond scripture. It can be found in Conference talks. It can be found in the temple. It can be found in Stake and Ward Conferences. It can be found in Sacrament Meetings, in RS and Priesthood meetings, in Sunday School and Primary. It can be found at lds.org but it CANNOT be found in any one source and this gives the LDS Internet Apologist a great deal of freedom in being able to pick and choose what he or she personally believes is or is not Mormon Doctrine.
Even Elder Bruce R. McConkie COULD NOT define the whole of Mormon Doctrine. And why was that? Why couldn’t an LDS apostle redact Mormon Doctrine? IMO, it's because Mormon Doctrine is more fluid over time than solid. It changes from one generation to the next. One generation said that Blacks would only get the Priesthood AFTER the yet unborn sons of Abel receive it, while the current generation says that all worthy men can receive it. One generation said that Jesus was the first born spirit son of Heavenly parents (God the Father and one of His wives) and progressed through his earthly life to Godhood, while the current generation believes that Jesus had already achieved God status before receiving a physical body. One generation believed that Zion would be gathered on this the American continent, while the current generation believes that Zion can be gathered anywhere in the world. One generation believed that Jesus was coming back so soon that they feared they’d not be able to complete the temple work for their immediate dead, while the current generation is considering removing "Latter-day Saints" from the name of the church. One generation believed what the D&C still says about the age of the earth and how much time is left before the end of the world - what will subsequent generations have to say about D&C 77?
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