Saturday, February 20, 2010


The gentiles seem determined to end their reign. According to an announcement from the Church this week, missionary work is being shifted from European and North American populations into Latin and South America, Africa and Asia.

I've thought for some time that the failing conversion rates are the inevitable result of the "marketing" system being used by the Church. What distinguishes the Restoration from other faiths is our doctrine. We have been de-emphasizing doctrine for years. We try to seem more and more like another Christian faith. We aren't. We are quite different. The reason to convert lies in our doctrinal differences.

No one is going to live the Latter-day Saint lifestyle who thinks that we are just another mainstream Christian church. To pay tithing, refrain from coffee, tea, alcohol, smoking and serve in Church leadership roles at considerable personal inconvenience and sacrifice requires our Church to be more than just another mainstream church. If that is all we are, most people (especially devoted people) are going to want an easier form of belief, like Methodism, Presbyterianism or Catholicism. If they offer the same doctrine as we do, then they will win.

I am a Latter-day Saint because I believe the doctrine. I am not a traditional Christian because I believe their creeds are false and they teach for doctrine the commandments of men. Unless someone comes to believe that, there is no reason to leave a traditional Christian denomination and become a Latter-day Saint.


  1. Could it not also be argued that the "personal inconveniences" you listed are also "commandments of men?"

    For example, is there not a difference between what the church body implements as a commandment and what the scriptures label as a "greeting?" Section 89, for instance, is used within the Church to lay down a list of "commandments" of things we can't partake of, especially if we want to attend the temple. Thou shalt not drink tea, thou shalt not drink coffee, though shalt not ... .

    It's an honest question I have - we fully accept those things you listed in your post and partially enumerated above in my comment as the "doctrine of the Church" even though, from a scriptural basis, there's a dubious, at best, doctrinal connection. Matthew 15:11 and others come to mind here...meanwhile we, as a church, tend to label someone as unworthy or of questionable character when s/he has Word of Wisdom "problems."

    True, the church can and does (and should) dictate it's own policy as a form of membership, but when that policy gets conflated with the doctrine we end up no different than other churches which teach for "doctrine the commandments of men."

  2. Somewhere I read an article once that introduced the concept of three kinds of doctrine:

    1) Gospel doctrine
    2) Church doctrine
    3) Social doctrine

    Our problems often stem from our inability to tell the difference and thus we mix them all up.

    I would suggest that even when we aren't mixing them up per sé, we sometimes are not open to realizing that Gospel doctrine is equivalent to "truth", and all truth, whether found within the Church's teaching or merely in the writings of an indigenous holy man, fit into the category of Gospel doctrine. I think Brigham Young spoke a lot on this topic. The 13th Article of Faith encompasses it as well.


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