Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why Mormon Doctrine IS NOT Mormon Doctrine

Many people within the Church and outside the Church think that Bruce R. McConkie's book, Mormon Doctrine, is the official declaration of the LDS Church doctrine. Here are several reasons why Mormon Doctrine is NOT Mormon Doctrine:
  1. Mormon Doctrine was written when Brother McConkie was a member of the First Counsel of the Seventy (1946-1972), not when he was an member of the Quorum of the 12.
  2. The Prophet is the only individual who could put forth official doctrine of the Church (D&C 28:1) which makes Bruce R. McConkie's book in violation of D&C 28:1-3.
  3. Given that the Prophet is the only individual who can set forth the official doctrines of the Church, Bruce R. McConkie's book is in violation of Doctrine and Covenants 19:31 because all other individuals in the Church, except the Prophet, are in no position to declare what the "tenets" of the Church are but are allowed to simply declare "repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea , even the Holy Ghost."
  4. He did not submit it to the Church's Reading Council before publishing it.
  5. The Prophet, David O McKay objected to the fact that the book implied it was the official representation of official Church Doctrine.
  6. Two senior apostles, Mark E. Peterson and Marion G. Romney, at the request of David O. McKay, reviewed Mormon Doctrine and found that the first edition had 1,067 "corrections" that needed to be made.
  7. David O. McKay insisted that the book never be republished not even in corrected form.
  8. David O. McKay insisted that the book not be recognized as an authoritative source of Mormon Doctrine and that Bruce R. McConkie take full responsibility for his book.
  9. The book itself has the presumptuous title of Mormon Doctrine when the book really should have been called "Doctrine according to Bruce R. McConkie."
  10. Despite the fact that David O. McKay declared the book not be republished, Bruce R. McConkie published it anyway six years later when the Prophet was in poor health.
  11. If you look at subsequent editions of Mormon Doctrine, it now has the standard disclaimer that the book does not represent the official position on the doctrines of the LDS Church.
Despite the many reasons why the book is not an official declaration of Church doctrine, it still gets cited and quoted in General Conference and Church talks, lessons and articles. Thus, while the book does not represent the official statement of Church beliefs, such actions of using it in official Church meetings by General Authorities and members gives the book undeserved legitimacy and authority.

It is no wonder that opponents of the LDS Church attack the Church by citing from Mormon Doctrine. We deny the near canonical status of the book, yet, the book sales and use of it in Church tells the critics of the Church otherwise. 

UPDATE: The LDS Church announced that it would stop publishing Mormon Doctrine in May of 2010 and explained that it was due to low sales of the book even though it is still a wildly popular book. As a result of discontinuing the publication of this book, the LDS Church has also removed references to McConkie’s book in the new Gospel Principles manual that was reissued in that year for use in Priesthood and Relief Society classes. Given that much of the Bible Dictionary in our current editions of the LDS scriptures comes directly from Mormon Doctrine, will the LDS Church be coming out with a new edition of the Book of Mormon in which we will get a new Bible Dictionary that is free of material taken from Mormon Doctrine


Brad said...

Thank You for posting this! I have been saying for years, since my mission that "Mormon Doctrine is not Mormon Doctrine". Most people in the church believe it to be. I wish they would stop selling this book.

In The Doghouse said...

Although Elder Bruce R. McConkie was a wonderful apostle of the Lord, his publication is not an official declaration of the Church as a whole. It does make me sad that people take it as the last word on items that simply need to be prayerfully pondered and taught by the Spirit. I wonder if Elder McConkie regrets the bold title that he gave the book?

I believe that Elder McConkie is a man of God, and loved his last testimony of Him that he gave in General Conference. I believe that he is also human and it is possible for him to err. Perhaps one of his errs in judgment was giving his book that bold title?

Clean Cut said...

All in favor of renaming his book "McConkie Doctrine", please manifest it. (raises right hand).

creeksalmon said...

'And of tenets thou shall not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea , even the Holy Ghost' ( Doctrine and Covenants 19:31 )

So when McConkie when beyond just tenants he was breaking the rule in D&C 19:31

J said...


Thanks for pointing out that scripture! I love it. I will add it to the list.

creeksalmon said...

Your Welcome, Bruce biggest mistake in Mormon Doctrine was saying God was omniscience

Excerpted from "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power" by D. Michael Quinn
"Jan 7-8, 1960 - First Presidency decides that Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine “must not be re-published, as it is full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation.” They are exasperated that McConkie and his publisher released the book without pre-publication publicity or notifying First Presidency. Even his father-in-law, senior apostle, Joseph Fielding Smith, “did not know anything about it until it was published.” This is McConkie’s way to avoid repetition of Presidency’s stopping his pre-announced Sound Doctrine three years earlier.

Committee of two apostles (Mark E Petersen and Marion G Romney) reports that McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine contains 1,067 doctrinal errors. For example, page 493 said: “Those who falsely and erroneously suppose that God is progressing in knowledge and gaining new truths cannot exercise sufficient faith in him to gain salvation until they divest themselves of their false beliefs.” However, McConkie is affirming doctrine of omniscience officially condemned by previous First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1865.”

Wilford taught God wasn't omniscience

God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end." Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses Vol. 6:120

creeksalmon said...

Actually the Book of Mormon and Bible agree with Bruce McConkie and disagree with wlford Woodruff, Romney and Talmage

Moroni 7:22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.

2 Nephi 9:20 O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.

•I Kings 8:39 "...for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men."

•Isaiah 66:18 "For I know their works and their thoughts..."

•John 16:30 "Now are we sure that thou knowest all things..."

•John 18:4 "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him..."

•John 21:17 "And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

•Acts 1:24 "...Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men.."

•I John 2:20 "...God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."