The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or Amazon.com.
“O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in
the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines,
and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way
of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty,
for they shall be thrust down to hell!” (The Book of Mormon,
2 Ne 28:15).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear
record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth
in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of
me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And
thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will
bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and
I, and the Holy Ghost are one. And again I say unto you, ye must
repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name,
or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you,
ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a
little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily,
verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth
upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than
this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and
is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation,
and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the
floods come and the winds beat upon them” (The Book of Mormon,
3 Nephi 11:35-40).
“I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine.
It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day
Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be
asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing
as I please. It feels so good not to be trammelled. It does not
prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine”
(Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:340).
2nd President Brigham Young
“You ought to love a woman only so far as she adorns the doctrine
you profess” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 199).
4th President Wilford Woodruff
“There is one particular feature connected with the preaching of
the gospel: You may send out a thousand elders and they will all
teach the same doctrines; they will all labor for the building up
of the same Church, they will be united; for their faith, their doctrines,
and the organization of the Church have all been made
known unto them by the revelations of God: hence they will see
eye to eye in regard to the principles of the gospel…. Our union
and oneness of sentiment constitutes one of the prominent beauties
of the organization of the kingdom of God” (Wilford Woodruff,
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 244.
Ellipsis in original).
6th President Joseph F. Smith
“Many of our young people, and some older ones, too, are not
familiar with their own religion nor with the beautiful and striking
doctrines of the gospel with which it is so laden. This class devote
more time to reading useless or sensational books than they do to
the study and contemplation of works that would familiarize them
with the principles of the gospel. If they were better informed
in this line, and understood the saving doctrines and every-day
questions of their religion, more than they do, they would not be
trapped by false teachings, false leaders, and advocates of cults
that are false” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 325).
10th President Joseph Fielding Smith
“I want to say to the Latter-day Saints that it is our duty to put
our faith in the revealed word of God, to accept that which has
come through inspiration, through revelation unto his servants
the prophets, both ancient and modern. And whenever you find
any doctrine, any idea, any expression from any source whatsoever, that
is in conflict with that which the Lord has revealed and which is found in
the holy scriptures, you may be assured that it is false; and you should
put it aside and stand firmly grounded in the truth in prayer and
in faith, relying upon the Spirit of the Lord for knowledge, for
wisdom, concerning these principles of truth” (Joseph Fielding
Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:321. Italics in original).
12th President Spencer W. Kimball
“God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his covenants
and doctrines are immutable; and when the sun grows cold and
the stars no longer shine, the law of chastity will still be basic in
God’s world and in the Lord’s church. Old values are upheld by
the Church not because they are old, but rather because they are
right” (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church:
Spencer W. Kimball, p. 180).
15th President Gordon B. Hinckley
“Those who observe us say that we are moving into the mainstream
of religion. We are not changing. The world’s perception
of us is changing. We teach the same doctrine” (Gordon B. Hinckley,
“Living in the Fulness of Times,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 2001, p. 5).
“This is God’s holy work. It is divine in its origin and in its doctrine.
Jesus Christ stands as its head. He is our immortal Savior and
Redeemer. His revelation is the source of our doctrine, our faith,
our teaching, in fact the underlying pattern of our lives. Joseph
Smith was an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in bringing
to pass this Restoration. And that basic element of revelation is
with the Church today as it was in Joseph’s day” (Gordon B. Hinckley,
“Good-bye for Another Season,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 2001, p. 85).
16th President Thomas S. Monson
“‘There will be no abrupt changes in the courses we’ve been
pursuing,’ Monson said at an introductory news conference. ‘Although
procedures and programs may be adjusted from time to
time, the doctrine is constant’” (Thomas S. Monson, “Mormon
Leader Plans No Changes,” Chicago Tribune, February 5, 2008,
Retrieved February 18, 2009).
“Why should those who are not of our faith be so opposed to us?
They say we have a false doctrine. But is it false? Have they proved
it to be so? We invite a comparison of the principles we believe in
with those taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles” (Anthon H.
Lund, Conference Reports, April 1905, p. 14).
“When any one except the President of the Church undertakes
to proclaim that any doctrine of the Church has been modified,
changed, or abrogated, we may know he is not ‘moved upon by
the Holy Ghost,’ unless he is acting under the direct authority and
direction of the President. When any man, except the President
of the Church, undertakes to proclaim one unsettled doctrine, as
among two or more doctrine in dispute, as the settled doctrine of
the Church, we may know that is not ‘moved upon by the Holy
Ghost,’ unless he is acting under the direction and by the authority
of the President. Of these things we may have a confident assurance
without chance for doubt or quibbling” (J. Reuben Clark,
Jr., “When are Church Leader’s Words Entitled to the Claim of
Scripture?” Teachings of the Living Prophets, 1982, p. 14).
“The saving principles and doctrines of the Church are established,
fixed, and unchangeable. Obedience to these absolutes is
necessary to enjoy ‘peace in this world, and eternal life in the world
to come.’ However, the manner in which the Church administers
complex and varied worldwide challenges changes from time to
time. Under guidance from living prophets, new guidelines and
procedures are put in place. I welcome these inspired changes.
They are proof of the truthfulness of the restored gospel” (James
E. Faust, “The Weightier Matters of the Law: Judgment, Mercy,
and Faith,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1997, p. 53).
“One cannot successfully attack true principles or doctrine, because
they are eternal. The revelations that came through the
Prophet Joseph Smith are still correct! It is a mistake to let distractions,
slights, or offenses pull down our own house of faith. We can
have a certain testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and Redeemer of mankind, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet
commissioned to restore the Church in our day and time without
having a complete understanding of all gospel principles. But
when you pick up a stick you pick up both ends. And so it is with
the gospel. As members of the Church we need to accept all of
it” (James E. Faust, “Lord, I Believe; Help Thou Mine Unbelief,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2003, pp. 21-22).
“To the extent that worldliness, false doctrine, and iniquity are
found among the saints, they too partake of the spirit of the great
apostasy. Speaking of men in the last days Nephi said: ‘They have
all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of
Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do
err because they are taught by the precepts of men.’ (2 Ne. 28:14.)
It follows that if members of the Church believe false doctrines; if
they accept false educational theories; if they fall into the practices
and abominations of the sectarians; if they use tea, coffee, tobacco
or liquor; if they fail to pay an honest tithing; if they find fault
with the Lord’s anointed; if they play cards; if they do anything
contrary to the standards of personal righteousness required by
the gospel — then to that extent they are in personal apostasy
and need to repent” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966,
“I think that the great generality of the members of the Church
believe and understand the doctrines and seek to apply the principles
to their lives. Unfortunately, there are a few people who agitate
and stir these matters up, and have some personal ax to grind,
or desire to spread philosophies of their own, that as near as the
judges in Israel can discern, are not in harmony with the mind and
will and purpose of the Lord” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Seven
Deadly Heresies,” an address given at Brigham Young University
on June 1, 1980. Transcribed from actual speech).
“You talk about teaching false doctrine and being damned. Here
is a list of false doctrines that if anyone teaches he will be damned.
And there is not one of these that I have ever known to be taught
in the Church, but I am giving you the list for a perspective because
of what will follow. Teach that God is a Spirit, the sectarian
trinity. Teach that salvation comes by grace alone, without works.
Teach original guilt, or birth sin, as they express it. Teach infant
baptism. Teach predestination. Teach that revelation and gifts and
miracles have ceased. Teach the Adam-God theory (that does apply
in the Church). Teach that we should practice plural marriage
today. Now, any of those are doctrines that damn” (Sermons and
Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p. 337).
“False creeds make false churches. There is no salvation believing
a lie. Every informed, inspired, and discerning person is revolted
by the absurdities and scripture-defying pronouncements in the
creeds of Christendom, whose chief function is to define and set
forth the nature and kind of Being that God is” (Bruce R. McConkie,
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary 1:30. Footnote
“Truth, diamond truth, pure truth, the truth of heaven, leads men
to salvation. True doctrines save; false doctrines damn. In the
midst of darkness and apostasy the Book of Mormon came forth
to proclaim the doctrines of salvation in plainness and purity, so
that all men may know what they must believe to be saved in God’s
kingdom” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second
Coming of the Son of Man, p. 160).
“There is no salvation in believing any false doctrine, particularly a
false or unwise view of the godhead or any of its members. Eternal
life is reserved for those who know God and the One he sent to
work out the infinite and eternal atonement” (Bruce R. McConkie,
BYU devotional “Our Relationship with the Lord,” p. 2. See
also Church News, March 30, 1982, p. 5. Cited by Apostle Jeffrey R.
Holland, “Knowing the Godhead,” Ensign, January 2016, p. 34).
“I do not know all of the providences of the Lord, but I do
know that he permits false doctrine to be taught in and out of
the Church and that such teaching is part of the sifting process
of mortality. We will be judged by what we believe among other
things. If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned. If that
belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray
and we will lose our souls. This is why Nephi said: And all those
who preach false doctrines,…wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the
Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!: (2 Ne.
28:15.) This clearly means that people who teach false doctrine
in the fundamental and basic things will lose their souls. The nature
and kind of being that God is, is one of these fundamentals.
(Bruce R. McConkie, Letter to Eugene England, February 19,
1981, p. 7. Ellipses in original).
“The gospel plan was revealed line upon line, precept upon precept,
here a little, and there a little. And it goes on: “We believe
that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining
to the Kingdom of God.” (A of F 1:9.) There will be changes made
in the future as in the past. Whether the Brethren make changes
or resist them depends entirely upon the instructions they receive
through the channels of revelation which were established in the
beginning. The doctrines will remain fixed, eternal; the organization,
programs, and procedures will be altered as directed by Him
whose church this is” (Boyd K. Packer, “Revelation in a Changing
World,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1989, p. 16).
“Some things cannot be changed. Doctrine cannot be changed”
(Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1993, p. 22).
“‘Principles which have been revealed,’ President Wilford Woodruff
said, ‘for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men…
are principles you cannot annihilate. They are principles that no
combination of men [or women] can destroy. They are principles
that can never die. …They are beyond the reach of man to handle
or to destroy. …It is not in the power of the whole world put together
to destroy those principles. …Not one jot or tittle of these
principles will ever be destroyed’” (Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and
All Eternity,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1993, p. 22.
Ellipses and brackets in original).
“To those who have strayed because of doctrinal concerns, we cannot
apologize for the truth. We cannot deny doctrine given to us
by the Lord Himself. On this principle we cannot compromise”
(Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Concern for the One,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 2008, p. 19).
“In addition, all Church members will benefit by a return to the basics.
A careful study of core doctrines as presented in the new and
improved Gospel Principles manual will help members strengthen
their understanding of the fundamental teachings of the gospel”
(Russell M. Nelson, “The New Gospel Principles Manual,” Ensign,
January 2010, pp. 29-30).
“It is our hope that the new Gospel Principles manual will take a
prominent place in the homes and lives of all Latter-day Saints.
The new edition will inspire teaching and enhance personal study.
Brothers and sisters, by reinforcing your study of the core doctrines
of the gospel of Jesus Christ, your testimony will grow, your
happiness will increase, and you will find a greater abundance of
the blessings of the Lord in your life” (Russell M. Nelson, “The
New Gospel Principles Manual,” Ensign, January 2010, p. 31).
“It is my firm belief that the bishop of every ward and the president
of every stake have the right to receive revelation as to what
is best for their ward and stake members. Also, that every person
who accepts a calling from the Lord has the right to receive revelation
in connection with that calling if he is living righteously so
that he is in tune with the Spirit of the Lord. But there is one thing
that we must remember and keep clearly in mind. This doctrine
was expressed by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., many years ago
in these words: The Lord has declared that ‘the Prophet, Seer,
and Revelator for the Church … alone has the right to receive
revelations for the Church, … or change in any way the existing
doctrines of the Church.’ No other member has any such right or
authority. (“When Are Church Leaders’ Words Entitled to Claim
of Scripture?” Church News, 31 July 1954, p. 2.)” (Henry D. Tay-
lor, “Revelation,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1978, p. 39.
Ellipsis in original).
“Do not contend or debate over points of doctrine. The Master
warned that ‘the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the
devil.’ (3 Ne. 11:29.) We are inconsistent if we resort to Satanic tactics
in attempting to achieve righteous ends. Such inconsistency
results only in frustration, loss of the Spirit, and ultimate defeat”
(Carlos E. Asay, “Opposition to the Work of God,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1981, p. 68).
“While we are members of the church, we are not authorized to
publicly declare our speculations or extend doctrinal positions to
other conclusions based upon the reasoning of men and women
– even by the brightest and well-read among us.” (L. Aldin Porter,
“Be Faithful – Be Followers,” The Salt Lake Tribune, October 3,
1994, p. A1).
“Along with the scriptures, some great sources for finding the
Lord’s way are True to the Faith, For the Strength of Youth, and other
teachings of the living apostles and prophets” (Stanley G. Ellis,
“The Lord’s Way,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2013, p. 37).
“Just as the Lord’s prophet is the only person on the earth who
holds all of the keys of the priesthood (see D&C 132:7), he also is
the only one who is empowered to receive revelation for the whole
Church. Neither his counselors nor members of the Quorum of
the Twelve nor any person in any position in the Church may
declare official doctrine, change policies, or speak as the Lord’s
representative for the entire Church, without the prophet’s authorization”
(Teachings of the Living Prophets, 1982, p. 13).
“The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, other
General Authorities, and a team from the Missionary Department
oversaw the creation of the manual. As a missionary resource,
Preach My Gospel has ‘revolutionized missionary work,’ said Elder
Kopischke” (“Preach My Gospel Continues to Help Members and
Missionaries Alike,” Ensign, October 2009, p. 76).
“Doctrines are eternal and do not change; however, the Lord,
through His prophet, may change practices and programs, according
to the needs of the people” (Teachings of the Living Prophets
Student Manual Religion 333, 2010, p. 18).
“Teachers and leaders use the scriptures, the teachings of latter-day
prophets, and approved curriculum materials to teach and
testify of the doctrines of the gospel. Approved curriculum materials
for each class or quorum are listed in the current Instructions
for Curriculum. As needed, teachers and leaders supplement curriculum
materials with Church magazines, particularly the general
conference issues of the Ensign” (Handbook 2: Administering
the Church (2010), p. 31. Italics in original. See also “Serving in the
Church,” Ensign, October 2012, p. 11).
“Experience has shown that no religious body, from the smallest
country congregation to the Church of Rome itself, can subsist
for long without finding itself under the necessity of interpreting
the scriptures. The result is the ‘History of Dogma.’ But the Mormons
have no History of Dogma. There has never been a Mormon
scholar. Learned men in various fields have been Mormons, but
there are no experts on matters of doctrine; there has never been
a council or synod to alter or even discuss any matter of doctrine”
(Hugh Nibley, No, Ma’am, That’s Not History, 1946, p. 45).
“If Joseph Smith were to walk into a conference of the Mormon
Church today he would find himself completely at home; and if he
were to address the congregation they would never for a moment
detect anything the least bit strange, unfamiliar or old-fashioned
in his teaching” (Hugh Nibley, No, Ma’am, That’s Not History, 1946,
“Yet of all the churches in the world only this one has not found
it necessary to readjust any part of its doctrine in the last hundred
years” (Hugh Nibley, No, Ma’am, That’s Not History, 1946, p. 46).
“In the beginnings of the LDS church, its philosophy and theology
were quite fluid and in some respects transitory, a condition
entirely normal for a movement in its infancy. In the early years,
the theology was not basically different from typical Protestantism,
but there were radical changes before the death of Joseph Smith.
In the first decades of this century, the philosophy and theology
achieved a considerable measure of stability and consistency. But
things changed after the death in 1933 of the Church’s leading
theologians, Brigham H. Roberts and James E. Talmage; now for
several decades there has been considerable confusion in Mormon
thought, with the result that it is often difficult if not impossible
to determine just what are and what are not the officially
accepted doctrines” (Sterling McMurrin, “Some Distinguishing
Characteristics of Mormon Philosophy,” Sunstone, March 1993,
“Mormon theology is young and unsophisticated and is not encumbered
with creeds and official pronouncements. Its structure
has been virtually untouched by serious and competent effort to
achieve internal consistency or exact definition. Yesterday it was
vigorous, prophetic, and creative; today it is timid and academic
and prefers scholastic rationalization to the adventure of ideas”
(Sterling M. McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon
Religion, p. 112).
“Even though it is a revealed religion, Mormonism is all but
creedless…. While certain doctrines are enunciated in the standard
works and some doctrinal issues have been addressed in
formal pronouncements by the First Presidency, there is nothing
in Mormonism comparable to the Westminster Confession
of Faith or the Augsburg Confession. Few of the truly distinctive
doctrines of Mormonism are discussed in ‘official’ sources. It is
mainly by ‘unofficial’ means – Sunday School lessons, seminary,
institute, and BYU religion classes, sacrament meeting talks and
books by Church officials and others who ultimately speak only
for themselves-that the theology is passed from one generation
to the next. Indeed it would seem that a significant part of Mormon
theology exists primarily in the minds of the members” (BYU
Professor Peter Crawley, cited in David John Buerger’s, “Speaking
with Authority: The theological influence of Elder Bruce R. McConkie,”
Sunstone, March 1985, p. 13. Ellipsis in original).
“Any of the General Authorities may speak the mind of the Lord
and thus proclaim scripture, but only the living Prophet has the
keys necessary to declare, clarify, or introduce doctrines and commandments
for the entire church” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert
L. Millet, Magnifying Priesthood Power, 1989, p. 109).
“In addition to its scriptural use, the word ‘doctrine’ has a broad
meaning in Mormon vernacular, where it is used to mean virtually
everything that is, or has been, taught or believed by the Latter-day
Saints. In this sense, doctrinal teachings answer a host of
questions. Some relate closely to the core message of the gospel
of Jesus Christ; others are farther removed and unsystematically
lap over into such disciplines as history, psychology, philosophy,
science, politics, business, and economics. Some of these beliefs
qualify as official doctrine and are given to the Saints as counsel,
exhortation, reproof, and instruction (2 Tim. 3:16). Continual effort
is made to harmonize and implement these principles and
doctrine into a righteous life. Other teachings, ones that lack official
or authoritative standing, may also be widespread among
Church members at any given time” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism
“The official doctrine of the Latter-day Saints is clearly defined
and readily accessible to all. Doctrines are official if they are found
in the standard works of the Church, if they are sustained by the
Church in general conference (D&C 26:2), or if they are taught
by the First Presidency as a presidency” (BYU Professor Stephen
E. Robinson, “Are Mormons Christian,” New Era, May 1998, p. 43).
“Of course it is true that many Latter-day Saints, from the Presidents
of the Church and members of the Quorum of the Twelve
down to individual members who may write books or articles, have
expressed their own opinions on doctrinal matters. Nevertheless,
until such opinions are presented to the Church in general conference
and sustained by vote of the conference, they are neither
binding nor the official doctrine of the Church” (BYU Professor
Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians?, p. 15).
“The doctrine of the Latter-day Saints is clearly defined and readily
accessible to all. Doctrines are official if they are found in the
standard works of the Church (the Bible, the Book of Mormon,
the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) or if
they are sustained by the Church in general conference. Policies
and procedures are official when those who hold the keys of that
ministry and who have been sustained by the Church declare them
to be the official policies and procedures of the Church” (BYU
Professor Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? p. 21).
“It is not uncommon in gospel discussions for someone to challenge
what is being said with the question, ‘Is that official Church
doctrine?’ This question often means the one asking it does not
like what is being said and is seeking a reason not to be bound
by it. The question is generally successful in outing the one challenged
on the defensive because of the difficulties associated with
defining ’official Church doctrine’” (BYU Professor Emeritus Joseph
Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough
Gospel Questions. p. 212).
“If the body of ‘official doctrine’ is to be limited to formal declarations
by the First Presidency, the Church has precious little
doctrine. From the time of its organization in the spring of 1830 to
the present, there have been very few instances in which the First
Presidency has issued ‘official’ doctrinal declarations. These have
included the statement on the origin of man, a doctrinal exposition
on the Father and the Son, and most recently the proclamation
on the family. Each of these declarations is marvelous in its
own right, but if our definition of ‘official doctrines’ is defined so
narrowly that it is limited to these declarations and the few others
we have received, we could not even declare faith, repentance,
and baptism as doctrines of the Church. Indeed, most of what we
understand to be the doctrine of the Church finds no mention
in such documents. Certainly the standard works, the temple ceremony,
and much instruction that has come to us by those whom
we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators is also ‘official doctrine’”
(BYU Professor Emeritus Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers:
Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions, p. 213).
“First, good doctrine will always sustain the idea that the living prophet,
not scripture or any other document, is the constitution of the Church.
The Church is not governed by canon law, we have no creed to
which we must pay allegiance, nor do we have a written constitution.
The governing authority of the Church is the voice of the living
prophet. It must ever be so” (BYU Professor Emeritus Joseph
Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel
Questions p. 214. Italics in original).
“In addition to the standard works, the Lord has provided another
objective ‘test’ or means whereby we can ascertain when the words
of the Lord’s servants are inspired and therefore binding upon
us as individuals. The prophet, seer, revelator-president of the
Church has been given the responsibility to receive and declare
the mind and will of the Lord. As has been promised, he will never
lead the Church astray, nor will his counsel go contrary to the
desires and designs of God. Like the standard works, the prophet-president
stands as an earthly safeguard against deception and
false doctrine. That is to say, the inspiration and truth of others’
teachings must not only harmonize with the standard works but
must also conform to and be within the parameters established
by the teachings and declarations of the living prophet” (Brent L.
Top, Larry E. Dahl, and Walter D. Bowen, Follow the Living Prophets,
“It is a matter of curiosity to many and an annoyance to some that
it is sometime difficult to get definitive answers from members of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to
what seem like straightforward questions, questions of the form
‘Why do you believe or do x?’” (BYU Professor James E. Faulconer,
“Why a Mormon Won’t Drink Coffee but Might Have a Coke: The
Atheological Character of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints,” Element: a Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology (Vol. 2,
Issue 2), Fall 2006, p. 21).
“Another challenge with reaching out is simply being able to respond
to hard questions that come from those of other faiths.
Most doctrinal or historical queries can be handled easily enough.
But some particularly sensitive topics—for example, that God was
once a man, how Jesus is literally the Son of God, what it means
for man to become like God, women and the priesthood, priesthood
restriction until 1978, plural marriage, and so forth—are
topics that can tax the soul, causing us to wonder how little or
how much to say. Little is generally better than much, and ‘I really
don’t know’ works quite well too” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert
L. Millet, Getting at the Truth, p. 14).
“If the general authorities do not teach something today, it is not
part of our doctrine today. That does not, however, mean that a
particular teaching is untrue. A teaching may be true and yet not
a part of what is taught and emphasized by the Church today. In
fact, if the Brethren do not teach it today, if it is not taught directly
in the standard works, or if it is not found in our correlated curriculum,
whether it is true or not may actually be irrelevant” (BYU
Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, Getting at the Truth, p. 66).
“The fact is, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has
no inclination whatsoever toward ecumenism and no desire to
compromise one ounce of its doctrine or history in order to court
favor among other religionists” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert
Millet, “Church Response to Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner
of Heaven,” June 27, 2003, Newsroom, http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-response-to-jon-krakauers-under-thebanner-of-heaven.
Retrieved August 26, 2015).
“In addition, information on official Church Web sites is reliable
and consistent with the doctrines and policies of the Church. All
materials on Newsroom and other Church Web sites are carefully
reviewed and approved before they are posted… In a complementary
way, Newsroom, LDS.org and other Church Web sites provide
an official voice from the Church” (“The Church and New Media:
Clarity, Context and an Official Voice Newsroom LDS.org,”
June 29, 2007, Newsroom, http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/
Retrieved August 26, 2015. Ellipsis mine).
“Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present,
necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a
single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal,
though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially
binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First
Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the
Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently
proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides
in the four ‘standard works’ of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book
of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great
Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of
Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving
their original meaning distorted” (“Approaching Mormon Doctrine,”
May 4, 2007, Newsroom, http://www.mormonnewsroom.
org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine. Retrieved August 26,
“If you agree with everything you read in a church book or hear in
a church meeting, you aren’t thinking hard enough. The human
element — opinion — is present far too often for any book (or even
doctrine) to be a theological guarantee” (Robert Kirby, “Think
about what you read, whether it’s doctrine or not,” Salt Lake Tribune,
May 27, 2010).
“Approved curriculum materials from the Church, such as scriptures,
general conference talks, and manuals, contain doctrine–
eternal truths from God” (“We Teach By the Power of the Holy
Ghost,” Ensign, July 2014, p. 10).
“Teach the doctrine. Approved curriculum materials from the
Church, such as scriptures, general conference talks, and manuals,
contain doctrine—eternal truths from God” (“We Teach by
the Power of the Holy Ghost,” Ensign, July 2014, p. 10. Boldface
“To say that doctrines taught in the LDS Church today are restored
doctrines implies that they were previously taught in biblical times
before being lost. Few of the doctrines unique to Mormonism,
however, are sufficiently elucidated in the Bible to be clearly recognizable.
Among these are doctrines of the preexistence, eternal
marriage, and salvation for the dead. Referring to these and
other distinctive Mormon doctrines, LDS scholar Terryl Givens
observed, ‘In none of these cases, or a dozen others that could be
mentioned, could one make a reasonable theological defense of
the Prophet’s ampler enactment of these principles and practices
on the basis of the few paltry biblical allusions that exist” (BYU
Professor Charles R. Harrell, ‘This is my Doctrine’: The Development of
Mormon Theology, p. 91).
“I can live with some human imperfections, even among prophets
of God—that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with
some alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon;
time will correct those. And I can live with some seeming historical
anomalies; they are minor in the total landscape of truth. But
I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored
by Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to
bless my family, and I cannot live without knowing my wife and
children are sealed to me for eternity. That is the choice we face—
a few unanswered questions on one hand versus a host of doctrinal
certainties and the power of God on the other” (Tad R. Callister,
Sunday School general president, Ensign, March 2015, p. 39).