In Defense of Elder Bruce R. McConkie – A True Apostle of Jesus Christ

Bruce_R._McConkie2

There is no denying the considerable influence of Elder Bruce R. McConkie upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and upon Mormon culture. Elder McConkie was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from October 1972 until his death in April of 1985.

Prior to becoming an apostle, he published Mormon Doctrine, a book of commentary on the gospel and the church presented in the style of an encyclopedia, comprised of his own, unofficial doctrinal analysis and explanations. The book was a cultural phenomenon for decades to come. But the leadership of the church at the time was not entirely happy with the book’s success, since it represented personal interpretations that were not the official teachings of the church. He was asked to revise his tone and make many, many changes in the second edition. Deseret Book discontinued publication of Mormon Doctrine in 2010.

Over the decades, Elder McConkie has become a favorite subject of derision by liberal and dissident members of the church. It makes me very sad to see bloggers and internet commenters regularly refer flippantly and dismissively to Elder McConkie. Despite some real human weakness, he was a remarkable man, a powerful teacher, and a true apostle of Jesus Christ. There is much we can learn from him and he deserves greater respect and consideration. Continue reading

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Opposition Votes in LDS General Conference – The Vote Has Been Noted

Meme from: “When dissenters yell in LDS conference” https://twitter.com/blakeoakey/status/584448780189081600

Apparently the opposition votes you heard in LDS General Conference were by only 5 only 7 individuals, but they managed to yell loud enough to be heard in the broadcast. This was part of an organized effort by a group coordinating via the internet to secure tickets to the conference specifically to express opposition.

In the group’s written statements they express their belief that the apostles are insulated from the kinds of concerns and criticisms these people have. So one of the goals of this organized effort seems to have been to get an audience with an apostle. In past decades those voting in opposition were directed to meet with an apostle or other general authority. It must have been quite a blow when President Uchtdorf directed them to meet with their stake presidents and not a general authority, which is the procedure they were trying to circumvent in the first place.

My suggestion is that as members we not be too harsh on these dissenting members. They are misguided and faithless, but they are still our brothers and sisters and hopefully they can be brought back to believe that the church is truly guided by Jesus through his living prophets. They exercised their right to dissent and their vote was noted.

Enjoy the rest of conference!

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LDS Apostle D. Todd Christofferson on Disagreeing with the Church about Same-Sex Marriage

On Friday, March 13th, Elder  D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was interviewed by Daniel Woodruff of KUTV News regarding the passage of Utah’s Anti-discrimination and Religious Freedom Law, SB296, which the LDS Church supported.

In the last few days since then you’ve probably seen brief quotes or heard soundbites from the interview in the news or on social media.

KUTV has posted the full 16 minute interview on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XybDk3CEoHg

I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing the portions of the interview that I find most interesting and important. I think you’ll find the greater context and nuance of Elder Christofferson’s words helpful. Continue reading

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Judging in the Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890

In Sunday School, we recently read the New Testament account of Jesus giving his famous Sermon on the Mount. The content of this part of the Bible is so familiar to many people, and has infused so much of western civilization, that it can be easy to consume the words as a collection of  stand-alone aphorisms and soundbites. But there is a complexity and tension there that deserves more careful consideration.

A quick observation about one such complexity:

In chapter 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus makes his well known declaration about Judging: Continue reading

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New Liberal Mormon Folklore – The Nephites Left Samuel the Lamanite’s Prophecies out of the Scriptures

Samuel-the-Lamanite

As I have mentioned before,  self-styled “Intellectual” and Liberal Mormons are just as susceptible to proof-texting, unexamined cultural constructs, and their their own set of folklore as anyone else.

In the Book of Mormon account of the visit of Jesus to the descendants of Lehi in the New World, after his resurrection from the dead, the scriptures recount that Jesus reviewed the scriptural records kept by the prophet Nephi.

During the last few years, I have periodically encountered members of the church who have imposed a reading on that portion of the Book of Mormon that goes something like this: Continue reading

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