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Defending Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie


Lightbearer

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On another thread it was suggested that there were over 1000 doctrinal errors contained in the original edition of Mormon Doctrine by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. I was going to post this rebuttal there but decided not to de-rail that thread but instead post it here. This is an excerpt from the book: The Bruce R. McConkie Story: Reflections of a Son, published by Deseret Book. The following quote is from Merdian Magazine:

The Mormon Doctrine Saga 1958 and 1966

I

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thanks for post.

However, I question Joseph Fielding McConkie, I read something of his that made me shut the book and not feel the need to read anything of his. I happened to met a Grandson of Bruce McConkie and he said that Elder McConkie had volumes of unfinished books.

Do the subsequent version of the book Mormon Doctrine claim blacks were fence sitters in heaven?

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FWIW, Mormon Doctrine is cited in the Gospel Essentials manual (new member class), which is an official LDS publication

I know that. However, there is also truth in the Apocrypha.

If the book Mormon Doctrine is quoted in an Official LDS text that means ONLY that in quotes reflect LDS teachings. IT does not mean that the book Mormon Doctrine is across the board Official LDS teachings.

A book can be quoted but only that quote from the book can be inferred to be an official stance.

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Lightbearer:

While I admire and respect Bruce R. McConkie his Mormon Doctrine is not LDS Doctrine.

I never said it was an "official doctrinal work" but there is a legitimate claim here that there are no doctrinal errors in it. I know all of you hate him and desire to discredit him because of his opinion on Organic Evolution, and because of his un-politically correct manner, but I still defy anyone to point to 10 items in the book that are proven to be doctrinally wrong.

Also I have read a lot of Joseph Fielding McConkie and have found nothing that offends me, although I am sure there is plenty to offend some on this board, for the same reasons his father offended some. My particular favorite is "Here we stand" one of his best books.

Also the 1966 edition of MD does not say that blacks were "fence sitters" or "neutrals" in heaven. It does say that he did not think they would receive the priesthood in this life and he publicly admitted (after the 1978 OD) that he was wrong on that point. I do not know if subsequent editions correct it or not.

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Wouldn't the change concerning the Catholic church being the great and abominable church spoken of in nephi be a doctrinal change?

Not really, the 1966 edition expands on it to include all organizations (whether religious, political, fraternal, or whatever) that lead mankind away from the truth.

It you read the OP, it says that while some things might be true, it is not always wise to proclaim it.

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Not really, the 1966 edition expands on it to include all organizations (whether religious, political, fraternal, or whatever) that lead mankind away from the truth.

It you read the OP, it says that while some things might be true, it is not always wise to proclaim it.

If the Catholic church leads people to have faith in Christ, can it be the GaAC then?

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On another thread it was suggested that there were over 1000 doctrinal errors contained in the original edition of Mormon Doctrine by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. I was going to post this rebuttal there but decided not to de-rail that thread but instead post it here. This is an excerpt from the book: The Bruce R. McConkie Story: Reflections of a Son, published by Deseret Book. The following quote is from Merdian Magazine:I provided here most of the entire quote but I particularly point attention to the last bolded part, so it seems at least his son Joseph Fielding McConkie states that there was nothing that was not doctrinal, only in the tone and in the delivery. Now one might question Elder McConkie's son, but I think he is in a good position to state his father's case.

Look.... go see the reference in "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism" -- if I were at home, I would give you a direct quote.

Mark E. Peterson found over 1000 "doctrinal errors" in the 1st edition.

I'm sorry if this somehow upsets you.

Here is an indirect reference:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xAm4qGyN2OYC&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=1000+doctrinal+errors+in+Mormon+Doctrine&source=bl&ots=2pRlrriCE0&sig=OAfIHbl3xtRVHCxNguinWB92i4c&hl=en&ei=aOsfS565OIiF4QaZ4fTsCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=1000%20doctrinal%20errors%20in%20Mormon%20Doctrine&f=false

Take a close look at footnote 37:

On President David O. McKay's disavowal of Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine as authoritative, see Marigon G. Romney to David O. McKay, 28 January 1959 (copy of letter in possession of author). Also see David O McKay, personal joural, 7-8 January and 27-28 January 1960, in which McKay notes that McConkie agrees never to reprint Mormon Doctrine in a second edition (copy in possession of the author).

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Lightbearer:

I don't hate him. I never have hated him. I supported/sustained him while he was an Apostle. I simply disagree with parts of his book Mormon Doctrine. I still do.

I've never been one to do a point by point refutation of anyone's beliefs. I simply let them believe whatever it is they believe. Believe me, if they ask me for my personal opinion on a particular subject. I have no problem with giving it.

It is always good to admit to being in error particularly when I am. I admire BRM for his ability to admit his error(s).

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Marion G Romney had quite a list of errors that he presented to the Bretheren; some doctrinal, some of tone. Mark E Petersen apparently made a correction on just about every page. Based on what DOM and the other GA's said, there doesn't seem to be any basis at all for the claim that Mormon Doctrine is or was free from doctrinal error and opinion.

Here is an interesting letter...

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Look.... go see the reference in "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism" -- if I were at home, I would give you a direct quote.

Mark E. Peterson found over 1000 "doctrinal errors" in the 1st edition.

I'm sorry if this somehow upsets you.

Here is an indirect reference:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xAm4qGyN2OYC&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=1000+doctrinal+errors+in+Mormon+Doctrine&source=bl&ots=2pRlrriCE0&sig=OAfIHbl3xtRVHCxNguinWB92i4c&hl=en&ei=aOsfS565OIiF4QaZ4fTsCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=1000%20doctrinal%20errors%20in%20Mormon%20Doctrine&f=false

Take a close look at footnote 37:

I suppose we could have dueling sources all day but I did find the following interesting blog: The Controversy over Mormon Doctrine

Anyone can write what they want on a blog or in a book. But other than the Catholic Church and Evolution nobody has yet to site a doctrinal error in Mormon Doctrine. Surly if there were over 1000 "doctrinal errors" someone can name more than the three already discussed here: (Catholic Church, priesthood ban, and evolution). I suspect it is just as his son indicated, his dogmatic tone upsets some more "broadminded" members and that is why they believe they can just reject this Apostle of Jesus Christ, yes he was called and sustained an apostle after the Mormon Doctrine fiasco... why would that be? Why would he not go the way of Paul H. Dunn if he was so doctrinally unsound as some here want to proclaim. Yes Elder McConkie was bold, yes he often sounded dogmatic, yes he would not compromise the Gospel standards "just to get along." Perhaps he was wrong in that, I suspect he was not or he would never have been sustained as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator (which the apostles are all sustained as). I find it amazing that almost 25 years after his death he still stirs up such ugly feelings people have for this honorable and just man. But I will do all in my power to justify this servant of God who is often the target of slander and hatred, and correct things that are stated against him. I encourage all to go back and read the quote from the OP and not just parrot the same old "Anti-McConkie" rhetoric that is much too common in the Church.

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I suppose we could have dueling sources all day but I did find the following interesting blog: The Controversy over Mormon Doctrine

Anyone can write what they want on a blog or in a book. But other than the Catholic Church and Evolution nobody has yet to site a doctrinal error in Mormon Doctrine. Surly if there were over 1000 "doctrinal errors" someone can name more than the three already discussed here: (Catholic Church, priesthood ban, and evolution). I suspect it is just as his son indicated, his dogmatic tone upsets some more "broadminded" members and that is why they believe they can just reject this Apostle of Jesus Christ, yes he was called and sustained an apostle after the Mormon Doctrine fiasco... why would that be? Why would he not go the way of Paul H. Dunn if he was so doctrinally unsound as some here want to proclaim. Yes Elder McConkie was bold, yes he often sounded dogmatic, yes he would not compromise the Gospel standards "just to get along." Perhaps he was wrong in that, I suspect he was not or he would never have been sustained as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator (which the apostles are all sustained as). I find it amazing that almost 25 years after his death he still stirs up such ugly feelings people have for this honorable and just man. But I will do all in my power to justify this servant of God who is often the target of slander and hatred, and correct things that are stated against him. I encourage all to go back and read the quote from the OP and not just parrot the same old "Anti-McConkie" rhetoric that is much too common in the Church.

You did notice, didn't you, that the original source for the 1000 errors claim comes from DOM's personal journal? I will take DOM's source -- written contemporaneously with the event -- over JFM's recollection which comes YEARS after-the-fact.

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Although not 1000, here's some of what Marion G Romney appears to have written:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Council of the Twelve

47 E South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

January 28, 1959

President David O. McKay

Building

Dear President McKay:

This is my report on MORMON DOCTRINE, by Bruce R. McConkie, which on

January 5, you asked me to read.

The book is a 776 page work which, in the words of the author, purports

to be, "the first major attempt to digest, explain and analyze all of the

important doctrines of the kingdom . . . . the first extensive compendium

of the whole gospel -- the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic

commentary covering the whole field of the revealed religion."

"For the work itself," the author assumes the "sole and full

responsibility." (Exhibit I) (The exhibits cited in the report consist of

printed pages from the book. The statements in point are underscored in

red.)

Preparation of the volume has entailed much study and research. Its

favorable reception evidences a felt need for such a treatise.

The author is an able and thorough student of the gospel. In many

respects he has produced a remarkable book. Properly used, it quickly

introduces the student to the authorities on most any gospel subject.

As to the book itself, 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." Had the work been authoritatively supervised, some of

the following matters might have been omitted and the treatment of others

modified.

A. References to churches and other groups who do not accept "Mormon

Doctrine".

1. "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," who

sometimes refer to themselves as "Josephites". (Exhibit II-1, pages

50, 141, 362)

2. "Christian Churches" generally. (Exhibit II-2, pages 139, 455)

3. "Catholic Church". (Exhibit II-3, pages 13, 66, 69, 129, 130, 216,

241, 242, 314-15, 342, 346, 350, 422, 499, 511, 697)

4. Communists and Catholics. (Exhibit II-4, pages 26-7, 131)

5. Evolution and Evolutionists. (Exhibit II-5, pages 37, 77, 136, 180,

228, 238, 659)

B. Declaration as to "Mormon Doctrine" on controversial issues.

1. "Pre-Adamites. (Exhibit III-1, pages 17, 262)

2. Status of Animals and Plants in the Garden of Eden. (Exhibit III-2,

pages 36,234-35)

3. Meaning of the various accounts of Creation. (Exhibit III-3, pages

157-8, 167- 8

4. Dispensation of Abraham. (Exhibit III-4, page 203)

5. Moses a translated being. (Exhibit III-5, pages 206, 445, 466,

727-8

6. Origin of Individuality. (Exhibit III-6, page 404)

7. Defiling the priesthood. (Exhibit III-7, page 437)

8. Manner in which Jesus was Begotten. (Exhibit III-8, page 494)

9. Written sermons. (Exhibit III-9, pages 634-5, 716)

10. Resurrection of stillborn children. (Exhibit III-10, page 694)

C. Miscellaneous Interpretations. (Exhibit IV)

Frequency of Administrations, page 22

Baptism in the "molten sea," page 98

II Peter 1:19, page 102

Paul married, page 112

Status of those "with Christ in His Resurrection", page 128

Consecration of oil, page 147

Councils and schools among the Gods, page 151

Limitations on Deity, page 154

Sunday not a proper day for family reunions, page 254

Geological changes at the time of the deluge, page 268

The holy Ghost as a spirit man, page 329

Facing east in temples when giving the Hosanna Shout, page 337

Details on family prayer and asking the blessing on food, page 526

Women to be gods, page 551

Interpretation of the Doctrine and Covenants 93:1, page 581

Interpretation of "Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning,"

page 606

Status of little children in the celestial kingdom, page 607

Resumption of schools of the prophets, page 613

Time of the beginning of seasons, page 616

Interpretation of III Nephi 12:20, page 618

D. Repeated use of the word "apostate" and related terms in a way which to

many seems discourteous and to others gives offense. (Exhibit V, pages

123, 125, 160, 169, 212, 223, 383, 528, 538, 546, 548, 596)

Faithfully and Respectfully submitted,

/s/

Marion G. Romney

Enc.

P.S.

As per my letter to you of January 9, I have promised to contact Marvin

Wallin, manager of Bookcraft Company, by the 9th of February about the

4,000 volume edition of MORMON DOCTRINE which he is holding.

I shall therefore seek to contact you about the matter near the end of

next week.

Sincerely,

M. G. R.

Here's a link to what appears to be the more complete correspondence, as well as meeting minutes

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I've highlighted a few of Mormon Doctrine's greatest hits here:

Ah Cinepro I knew I could depend on you to "spread the poop" especially if it places the Church in a bad light. But honestly your list is rather telling, it harkens back to the three objectionable points already mentioned. Lets look at your list:

American Indians- (linage questions?) This has been taught throughout the Church in all levels of classes from Primary to Institute.

Animals- (Evolution) this is an obvious challenge to believers in evolutionist theories so one of the big three.

Article on Marriage- a rather odd objection, I think it is a sound explanation but of course one that Anti-Mormons could never accept.

Evolution- the real and most urgent reason that Mormon Doctrine offends.

First Man-again the same old Darwinian saw.

Plural Marriage- I see no reason why this could not be the case, since there is nothing inherently evil in the practice when God commands it.

Flood of Noah- ah, now this is one of your favorites is it not? It also has an "anti-scientific theory" element which of course is particularly offensive to you.

Birth Control- Here he quotes a Prophet of God (Joseph F. Smith) and of course offends many members of the Church as well as the ZPG crowd in the world.

Cain- blacks & the priesthood as mentioned already.

Caste System- again elements of the above.

Cumorah- this is particularly offensive to some LGT apologists.

Quetzalcoatl- not sure why this is offensive. The "great white god" and the "feathered serpent" are well know in Mormon thought, I suppose it offends some apologists as well.

Of course the "poop brownie" reference is rather offensive and adds nothing to the discussion of "doctrinal errors".

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Although not 1000, here's some of what Marion G Romney appears to have written:

Thank you, actually this is what I was requesting. But I must ask where this supposed correspondence comes from? Not sure from the web-site. An interesting thing is that it does tend to validate what Joseph Fielding McConkie stated in his book. The following points are instructive:

A. References to churches and other groups who do not accept "Mormon Doctrine". Possibly his greatest error.

1. "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," who sometimes refer to themselves as "Josephites". (Exhibit II-1, pages 50, 141, 362)

2. "Christian Churches" generally. (Exhibit II-2, pages 139, 455)

3. "Catholic Church". (Exhibit II-3, pages 13, 66, 69, 129, 130, 216, 241, 242, 314-15, 342, 346, 350, 422, 499, 511, 697)

4. Communists and Catholics. (Exhibit II-4, pages 26-7, 131)

5. Evolution and Evolutionists. (Exhibit II-5, pages 37, 77, 136, 180, 228, 238, 659)

The double whammy of Catholic bashing and Evolution bashing...

Now for the "doctrinal" objections.

B. Declaration as to "Mormon Doctrine" on controversial issues.

1. "Pre-Adamites. (Exhibit III-1, pages 17, 262)

2. Status of Animals and Plants in the Garden of Eden. (Exhibit III-2,

pages 36,234-35)

3. Meaning of the various accounts of Creation. (Exhibit III-3, pages

157-8, 167- 8

4. Dispensation of Abraham. (Exhibit III-4, page 203)

5. Moses a translated being. (Exhibit III-5, pages 206, 445, 466,

727-8

6. Origin of Individuality. (Exhibit III-6, page 404)

7. Defiling the priesthood. (Exhibit III-7, page 437)

8. Manner in which Jesus was Begotten. (Exhibit III-8, page 494)

9. Written sermons. (Exhibit III-9, pages 634-5, 716)

10. Resurrection of stillborn children. (Exhibit III-10, page 694)

C. Miscellaneous Interpretations. (Exhibit IV)

Frequency of Administrations, page 22

Baptism in the "molten sea," page 98

II Peter 1:19, page 102

Paul married, page 112

Status of those "with Christ in His Resurrection", page 128

Consecration of oil, page 147

Councils and schools among the Gods, page 151

Limitations on Deity, page 154

Sunday not a proper day for family reunions, page 254

Geological changes at the time of the deluge, page 268

The holy Ghost as a spirit man, page 329

Facing east in temples when giving the Hosanna Shout, page 337

Details on family prayer and asking the blessing on food, page 526

Women to be gods, page 551

Interpretation of the Doctrine and Covenants 93:1, page 581

Interpretation of "Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning,"

page 606

Status of little children in the celestial kingdom, page 607

Resumption of schools of the prophets, page 613

Time of the beginning of seasons, page 616

Interpretation of III Nephi 12:20, page 618

Since I do not have the actual quotes I cannot make a judgment, other than to say perhaps he speculated on some of these topics (no more than what we see going on here). But still if it is speculation it cannot be classified as a error in doctrine.

Perhaps the most serious problem was the "tone" as indicated here:

D. Repeated use of the word "apostate" and related terms in a way which to many seems discourteous and to others gives offense. (Exhibit V, pages 123, 125, 160, 169, 212, 223, 383, 528, 538, 546, 548, 596)

Again being offensive does not mean doctrinal error, so again I think it validates JFM statement.

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Ah Cinepro I knew I could depend on you to "spread the poop" especially if it places the Church in a bad light.

Wait, you start a thread to discuss the problems with "Mormon Doctrine", then when I quote passages that are problematic, you accuse me of trying to place the "Church" in a bad light? :P

Of course the "poop brownie" reference is rather offensive and adds nothing to the discussion of "doctrinal errors".

The principle of "poop brownies" was taught to me at least twice at Church: if something has even a small amount of "poop", then the whole thing is bad. In the gospel, there is nothing more damaging or dangerous than false doctrine. So, to whatever degree someone might feel that "Mormon Doctrine" contains false doctrines, the analogy is valid.

Of course, it's possible for someone to accept everything in "Mormon Doctrine" as Mormon doctrine. If that's the case, then I would understand why they wouldn't have a problem with the book. But at the very least, my list of excerpts can serve to foster understanding on why many LDS do object to the character of the book.

Just to be clear, do you agree with the book's claims regarding the Curse of Cain and the Negro race?

Also, do you agree with the evidence that Joseph Smith was plurally married to Fanny Alger in 1833? If so, the "Article on Marriage" section is problematic.

But if you doubt evolution, pre-Adamites and the Local Flood theories, then you shouldn't have a problem with those sections. I was just pointing out sections of the book that many LDS would dispute as "doctrinal".

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Lightbearer:

I doubt that even BRM would want to belong to your church of the inerrant BRM that you're trying to set up.

That is really an unworthy and hateful accusation to make. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I just do not like how some people try to discredit an apostle of God and "trample" his teachings under their feet.
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lightbearer you seem as dogmatic to the book as those against the book.

You seem rather intent on presenting the book as official doctrine of the LDS Church. It may contain some official things but that does make the book official. Almost to the point that the book can be quoted without question as authoritative on LDS Doctrine.

there seems rarely a reason to cite the book mormon doctrine when talking about the LDS Church Doctrine as there are sufficient Official sources to look too. Though the book mormon doctrine may be quoted in Sunday School manuals, only those quotations can be accepted as acceptable and not the book mormon doctrine as a whole.

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