Many people both within the Church and outside the Church think that Bruce R. McConkie’s book, Mormon Doctrine, is the official declaration of LDS church doctrine. Today’s guest post is by Paradise Destroyed.
Here are several reasons why Mormon Doctrine is NOT Mormon Doctrine:
- Mormon Doctrine was written when Brother McConkie was a member of the First Counsel of the Seventy (1946-1972).
- 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.
- He did not submit it to the Church’s Reading Council before publishing it.
- The prophet, David O. McKay, objected to the fact that the book implied it was the official representation of official Church Doctrine.
- 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.
- David O. McKay insisted that the book never be republished, not even in corrected form.
- 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.
- The book itself has the presumptuous title of Mormon Doctrine when the book really should have been called “Doctrine according to Bruce R. McConkie.”
- 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.
- 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 (and membership) otherwise.
So, what do you think? Does the book do more good than harm? Do average members understand that it is not canonical? Why was Bruce McConkie protected from the consequences of writing a speculative book with a presumptuous title when others who have written speculative Mormon books have been excommunicated? Discuss.