Mormon Doctrine (book)


Mormon Doctrine (book)
"Mormon Doctrine" redirects here. For articles on the doctrines of Mormonism, see Category:Latter Day Saint doctrines, beliefs, and practices.

Mormon Doctrine (originally subtitled A Compendium of the Gospel) is an encyclopedic work written in 1958 by Bruce R. McConkie, a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was intended primarily for a Latter-day Saint audience and is often used as a reference book by church members because of its comprehensive nature. It was not an official publication of the Church, and it has been both heavily criticized by some church leaders and members, and highly regarded by others. After the book was originally removed from publication at the instruction of the church's First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, corrections were made in subsequent editions.

Contents

History

In 1958, McConkie, who was at the time a member of the First Council of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, published a book entitled Mormon Doctrine: A Compendium of the Gospel, which he described as "the first major attempt to digest, explain, and analyze all of the important doctrines of the kingdom" and "the first extensive compendium of the whole gospel—the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic commentary covering the whole field of revealed religion." He included a disclaimer that he alone was responsible for the doctrinal and scriptural interpretations, a practice unusual at the time.[1]

In writing the book, McConkie relied heavily upon the scriptures and recognized doctrinal authorities including, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and Joseph Fielding Smith.[1]

Scrutiny by church leaders

On January 5, 1959, Apostle Marion G. Romney was assigned by President David O. McKay to read and report on the book. His report was delivered on January 28, which mainly "dealt with Elder McConkie's usage of forceful, blunt language; some strongly worded statements about ambiguous doctrine and matters of opinion; and the overall authoritative tone throughout the book, though in general Romney had a high regard for Mormon Doctrine and felt it filled an evident need remarkably well."[1] The report concluded, "notwithstanding its many commendable and valuable features and the author’s assumption of ‘sole and full responsibility’ for it, its nature and scope and the authoritative tone of the style in which it is written pose the question as to the propriety of the author’s attempting such a project without assignment and supervision from him whose right and responsibility it is to speak for the Church on 'Mormon Doctrine.'"

Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also marked 1,067 corrections in his first edition copy of the book.[2]

Publication restriction

Nearly a year later, after meeting to discuss the book, the January 8, 1960 office notes of McKay reflect that:

"We [the First Presidency of the Church] decided that Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine’ recently published by Bookcraft Company, 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. It is reported to us that Brother McConkie has made corrections to his book, and is now preparing another edition. We decided this morning that we do not want him to publish another edition."[2]

McKay called Joseph Fielding Smith on January 27, 1960 at 3:00 p.m. to inform him of the decision to not allow further publication of the book:

[McKay] then said: "Now, Brother Smith, he is a General Authority, and we do not want to give him a public rebuke that would be embarrassing to him and lessen his influence with the members of the Church, so we shall speak to the Twelve at our meeting in the temple tomorrow, and tell them that Brother McConkie's book is not approved as an authoritative book, and that it should not be republished, even if the errors...are corrected." Brother Smith agreed with this suggestion to report to the Twelve, and said, "That is the best thing to do."[1]

When the First Presidency met with McConkie about their decision, he responded, "I am amenable to whatever you Brethren want. I will do exactly what you want. I will be as discreet and as wise as I can."[1]

Second edition

In his biography of his father, Joseph Fielding McConkie states that six years later:

"On July 5, 1966, President McKay invited Elder McConkie into his office and gave approval for the book to be reprinted if appropriate changes were made and approved. Elder Spencer W. Kimball [of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] was assigned to be Elder McConkie’s mentor in making those changes. ... My father told me that President McKay had so directed him. In addition to that, I am in possession of handwritten papers by my father affirming that direction."[3]

Other accounts of the meeting suggest that McConkie sought out permission and generously interpreted McKay's counsel:

…McConkie audaciously approached McKay six years later and pushed for publication of the book in a revised form… McKay, age ninety-two and in failing health, did not take the matter up with his counselors or the Quorum of the Twelve. Rather, he said that "should the book be re-published at this time," McConkie would be responsible for it and "that it will not be a Church publication." Three days after meeting with McKay, McConkie wrote in a memo to Clare Middlemiss, McKay's secretary, "President McKay indicated that the book should be republished at this time.[4]

The second edition of Mormon Doctrine, with its approved revisions, was published in 1966. Horne states, "The most obvious difference between the two editions is a more moderate tone."[1]

Another revision was made to the book in 1978 after Church President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation that the priesthood should be extended to all worthy male members.

Legacy

Much of the Bible Dictionary included with the Church's publication of the Bible in 1979 borrows from Mormon Doctrine. For example, the entry for "Abraham, covenant of" in the Bible Dictionary is exactly the same as the entry for "Abrahamic covenant" in Mormon Doctrine except for one paragraph. Many other Bible Dictionary entries teach identical concepts with closely paralleled wording as corresponding entries in Mormon Doctrine.

In 1972 McConkie was called to serve in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles by McKay's successor, Harold B. Lee.

Out of Print

Citing poor sales, Deseret Book opted in 2010 to cease printing of Mormon Doctrine.[5] Despite Deseret's claim that the decision was based on declining sales, many observers opined that the move was due to the book's uncompromising presentation of controversial Mormon ideas from which the Church is attempting to distance itself to seem more like mainstream Christianity.[6] Aaron Shafovaloff of the blog Mormon Coffee stated that the book's Amazon.com sales rank was far higher than many other Mormon titles that are still in print.[7]. A story on KUTV reported that local Salt Lake City booksellers reported consistently strong sales of the book. [8]

See also

Book collection.jpg Novels portal

References

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Black people in Mormon doctrine — From 1849 to 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS Church) had a policy against ordaining black men to the priesthood, and forbidding black men and women from taking part in ceremonies in Mormon temples. Associated with this… …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon folklore — is a body of expressive culture unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS Church) and its members. It includes tales, oral history, popular beliefs, customs, music, jokes, and other traditions. The purpose of folklore is to… …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon studies — is the interdisciplinary academic study of the beliefs, practices, history and culture of those known by the term Mormon and denominations belonging to the Latter Day Saint movement whose members do not generally go by the term Mormon . The… …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir — Background information Origin Salt Lake City, Utah, United States …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon Battalion — Monument by Edward J. Fraughton, Presidio Park, San Diego, California. The Mormon Battalion was the only religiously based unit in United States military history,[1] and it served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican American War. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon Channel — City of license Salt Lake City, Utah, United States Broadcast area Salt Lake City and Worldwide Branding Mormon Channel …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon Orchestra of Washington DC — Origin Suitland, Maryland, United States Genres Worship, classical Years active 2007 (2007)–present Websi …   Wikipedia

  • Doctrine and Covenants — The Doctrine and Covenants (sometimes abbreviated and cited as D C or D. and C.) is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. Originally published in 1835 as Doctrine and Covenants of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Book of Mormon — This article is about the religious book. For the Broadway musical, see The Book of Mormon (musical). For other uses, see Book of Mormon (disambiguation). Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Mormon cosmology — Statue of Jesus depicted among artwork representing the planets and stars of the cosmos, which Mormons believe Jesus created under the direction of God the Father. Mormon cosmology is the description of the history, evolution, and destiny of the… …   Wikipedia