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Our High Priest Group leadership; which includes me, have been tasked to give lessons on separating tradition from doctrine in the church. Now I'm thinking how I can incorporate that into my lessons in church. I have been instructed to use the Priesthood Handbook 2 as my guide to policy and doctrine. Im thinking there may be many traditions in Home Teaching that dont have a lot to do with doctrine; mainly focused on authority of the Home Teacher and the Head of the Family.

Preliminary Concepts to Tradition Vs Doctrine:

1) Taking the sacrement with the right hand

2) Wearing a white shirt vs colored shirt in sacrement meeting, and or while administering the sacrement

3) Home teaching at church instead of at home

4) Using only white bread during sacrement

5) Members cant have beards

Some resources I have found:

Handbook 2: Administering the Church

Confusing Doctrine with Tradition: Chapter 4

Any other ideas?

Edited by Messenger
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Can't provide a link, using an iPad.

Look up on newsroom.LDS.org the articles the diverse voices of Mormonism as well as approaching Mormon doctrine.

Add on...

Also the religious experience of Mormonism

Edited by calmoriah
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Messenger, as you prepare the lesson, you might want to read this talk given by Elder Packer.

http://emp.byui.edu/huffr/The%20Unwritten%20Order%20of%20Things%20--%20Boyd%20K.%20Packer.htm

I think it helps explain why some of these things are ingrained into the church experience. They may not be doctrine, but they are part of what Elder Packer calls the 'unwritten order of things' and so, depending on the Priesthood leaders who are in charge, they may be adhered to.

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Messenger, as you prepare the lesson, you might want to read this talk given by Elder Packer.

http://emp.byui.edu/...K.%20Packer.htm

I think it helps explain why some of these things are ingrained into the church experience. They may not be doctrine, but they are part of what Elder Packer calls the 'unwritten order of things' and so, depending on the Priesthood leaders who are in charge, they may be adhered to.

Just so you know, Im ok with tradition, as long as its called that. For example in a former ward in Rexburg, the entire priesthood would recite one particular scripture every quarter. It was always called a tradition by the Bishop, and I was actually quite fine with it. The point is that when things change, a person grows up and moved out of the ward, that they understand that was a tradition of that ward, not doctrine and may not be followed by other wards.

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I was in an Oakland ward once long ago (lol). My visiting teacher, one of the relief society presidency, was talking about how disrespectful it was of the large number of Islanders in our ward who removed their shoes to attend church. It was a good lesson to me that tradition in one area of the world is not the same as in others. Yet I wonder how those Islanders felt about the Oaklanders wearing shoes in church meetings. :)

When I was a little girl in grade school a girl told me that her primary teacher taught that beards and facial hair were only worn by followers of the devil. It infuriated me because my dad had always worn a mustache. I knew he was not a follower of the devil!

Today my husband wears a mustache and a beard and he is a very nice man :D

Some traditions are just bigotry and narrowmindedness.

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Fascinating stuff, actually.

One thing that was policy many many years ago, and I know it was policy because it was in the GH at the time -- I saw it -- but it is no longer policy though some wards still seem to follow it, is that Sacrament Meeting opening prayer must be given by a priesthood holder, specifically a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. The closing prayer could be given by anyone. This policy was rescinded years ago, and I remember it being rescinded.

Nevertheless, 95% of the opening prayers in our Sacrament meetings are given by Melchizedek Priesthood holders, especially if our current Executive Secretary does the selecting (which is normally the case in our ward). When the Ward Clerk does it (a semi-recent convert), then the opening prayer is apt to be given by a sister as well as a brother. I've told the Exec Sec, and he seemed to agree that I was correct, but he still only asks MP holders to give the opening prayers.

So many ruts we are all in.

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A good point to perhaps bring up is Paul's teachings to the Corinthians on eating meat that was originally sacrificed to idols. (1 Corinthians 8 )

Paul say it's okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols but if doing so will weaken the faith of other members or prove a stumbling-block it is better to avoid eating that meat even though it is not a sin.

In essence that sometimes it is better to adhere to unimportant traditions to avoid offending those who are weak in faith. It's better to just go along with it as charity to the weaker in the church.

Edited by The Nehor
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I think we have to be carefull about automattically going along with a tradition, if its not doctrine, but accepted as doctrine. If we do, then we end up with a million rules and we lose the purpose of why we keep them. .... which is love.

Matthew 22

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

I think its good to call a tradition for what it is from time to time, so that we are reminded of what is most important.

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IMO, every time the Church comes out with a new rule we take one step away from Jesus Christ. We do not legislate righteousness among the saints; we teach them to follow the Spirit; we teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.

Consider how these rules come about. Most bulletins and policies I have seen were due to someone doing something they shouldn't have in the first place. In that sense we lose our freedom and agency by abusing it. The rules are just the last step in a long process of bad judgement.

Each time the ward receives a bulletin or the Bishop has an announcement to share with the ward from Salt Lake City that has to do with warning us not to do something dumb, I find myself thinking "who was the guy who thought that would be a good idea?"

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Our High Priest Group leadership; which includes me, have been tasked to give lessons on separating tradition from doctrine in the church. Now I'm thinking how I can incorporate that into my lessons in church. I have been instructed to use the Priesthood Handbook 2 as my guide to policy and doctrine. Im thinking there may be many traditions in Home Teaching that dont have a lot to do with doctrine; mainly focused on authority of the Home Teacher and the Head of the Family.

Preliminary Concepts to Tradition Vs Doctrine:

3) Home teaching at church instead of at home

4) Using only white bread during sacrement

Some resources I have found:

I've never heard of those two. Are we supposed to use white bread because it represents Jesus' body, and he was white?

And what do you mean by "Home teaching at church instead of at home"? That sounds very unusual.

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I've never heard of those two. Are we supposed to use white bread because it represents Jesus' body, and he was white?

And what do you mean by "Home teaching at church instead of at home"? That sounds very unusual.

Nope, because it's "purer". If we wear white in the temple, we should have white bread for the sacrament, etc. etc. I know of someone who thought we should only use ww bread because it was 'natural' and not artificial, manmade, in violation of the WoW, etc.

Home teaching...I think he means no home teaching at church but only in the home...because it's called home teaching. Though I've heard the reason for that as it's important to see people in their home because if there is a problem that they are shy talking about, you may pick up hints by observation and they may be more comfortable talking about it at home....people tending to be in 'church mode' at church. I can understand choosing to home teach at church if there are huge distances to be covered and transportation issues or if one has roommates that aren't receptive to the idea.

I've heard of being home or visit taught in the home of the teacher rather than the teachee because the teacher is homebound, I think this is a nice idea that allows invalids to still fulfill church callings. Do what works if it helps to establish a good relationship. If one home teaches at church simply because it makes it easier to get your numbers, I think that is problematic.

Edited by calmoriah
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white bread? I seem to remember having whole wheat one time and being surprised but not bothered by it.

Traditions may be nice but sometimes I think it hurts us in the church. Doing things by meaningless rote,

and that is what it seem to me to be, is exactly what we arent supposed to do isnt it? The things we do over

and over, like the sacrament are to be thought about when we do them. We think about the purpose and what

we are committing ourselves to doing.

I can see white shirts in a way but is this standard everywhere? How about in Samoa? Or Guinea? Also if they

are required to wear white shirts why not white pants, etc? Priesthood giving opening prayer? I thought it was last!

Here it tends to be ladies first with men closing although its not written in stone at all.

Honestly I am getting tired of traditions period. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Birthdays. Every single year

they get more of the same over and over. Yet what is the purpose? They are empty traditions. Only advantage to them

is getting to see family but do we need excuses to do that?

Maybe that is the point. Empty traditions are a waste of our time be it in church or just life. How about if we spend our time

on things that actually have meaning?

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I was in an Oakland ward once long ago (lol). My visiting teacher, one of the relief society presidency, was talking about how disrespectful it was of the large number of Islanders in our ward who removed their shoes to attend church. It was a good lesson to me that tradition in one area of the world is not the same as in others. Yet I wonder how those Islanders felt about the Oaklanders wearing shoes in church meetings. :)

When I was a little girl in grade school a girl told me that her primary teacher taught that beards and facial hair were only worn by followers of the devil. It infuriated me because my dad had always worn a mustache. I knew he was not a follower of the devil!

Today my husband wears a mustache and a beard and he is a very nice man :D

Some traditions are just bigotry and narrowmindedness.

Traditions are what we make of them.

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Tradition can be a powerful force for good, connecting us to our ancestors, our descendants, our community and our environment. Good and healthy customs can give us the freedom to look past what we are doing to explore it's meaning. On the other hand, many traditions serve only to take the place of meaning and sometimes a custom that was once useful becomes detrimental and must be abandoned.

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We use white bread because some people don't like the taste of other breads or have food allergies. It avoids uneccessary distractions from the sacrament to keep it simple.

We use all kinds of breads on our ward. Sounds like using white bread in your ward is a tradition.

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Nope, because it's "purer". If we wear white in the temple, we should have white bread for the sacrament, etc. etc. I know of someone who thought we should only use ww bread because it was 'natural' and not artificial, manmade, in violation of the WoW, etc.

Home teaching...I think he means no home teaching at church but only in the home...because it's called home teaching. Though I've heard the reason for that as it's important to see people in their home because if there is a problem that they are shy talking about, you may pick up hints by observation and they may be more comfortable talking about it at home....people tending to be in 'church mode' at church. I can understand choosing to home teach at church if there are huge distances to be covered and transportation issues or if one has roommates that aren't receptive to the idea.

I've heard of being home or visit taught in the home of the teacher rather than the teachee because the teacher is homebound, I think this is a nice idea that allows invalids to still fulfill church callings. Do what works if it helps to establish a good relationship. If one home teaches at church simply because it makes it easier to get your numbers, I think that is problematic.

Invalids? LOL That sounds a little Hollywood to me.

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So far my lesson is steering around the idea that while we have traditions, and they tend to be comfortable, we need to recognize them for what they are, not doctrine. This is true with a lot of things. Directives from the church are often misinterpreted by the members. For example, because we know that smoking is bad for our health, we may not welcome someone into the church that smells like cigarette smoke. Where does this stop? I live in a wealthy ward, yet I have never met a poor person there, besides myself, that is active. I certainly don’t feel welcome, but I go anyways. Somewhere along the lines, people have developed a way to separate themselves from others. When we do, we often don’t realize that’s exactly opposite of what Christ did. Somehow, the act of not doing something in our own lives, automatically translates to not interacting with those that do, if we let it. For example....

Numbers 6:3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes nor eat moist grapes or dried.

This is definitely Old Testament. And Christ fulfilled this type of rule. Earlier I gave an example of people that memorized a scripture in Priesthood. They would recite the scripture in unison at the beginning of priesthood meeting. I'll admit, it sounded a little like the Borg talking! I think the intention was good, and they always said it was a tradition. While most memorized that only after 4 or 5 Sundays, having ADHD, I never did. Some of the other priesthood holders would look at me weird when I was reciting from the book and they were reciting from memory. I enjoyed that tradition up until then. I think that we have to be careful that these traditions aren’t interpreted as exclusionary or doctrine. If people decide to wear a white shirt in sacrament meeting, that’s fine. I wore a white shirt and tie when going to class at BYU because I felt more comfortable in them after my mission. But that doesn’t extend to me judging others for NOT wearing a white shirt and tie as being less than me, or even low brow. I've seen this with income as well. I have some very wealthy friends. Two are retired NBA players, one is a retired NFL player, and others include an ex-owner of a large car dealership and a former NASA project administrator. I just work in a call center! LOL . Yet for some people income makes no difference to any of us, I see that it does for others. Our bishop has been trying to get people in our ward, (who are generally above middle income) to reach out to their neighbors. Four weeks later after he challenged us, he asked us if anybody talked to their neighbors.... I started to raise my hand as I often have conversations with my neighbors ... and realized that nobody else in the room raised their hand.

Another good one is sitting in the back row or overflow. You know, some of the most comfortable chairs are back there! Yet, in one ward, after getting leadership callings, I was asked to sit up closer so that people could see me. I actually always thought I was bringing up the rear and supporting those that were less active in the back. Being inactive for 5 years of my life, I feel a duty to support and encourage those that are less active, yet someone felt I was less of a person for sitting in those chairs.

One last example, just after I was baptized in the ward I grew up in, I had two good friends my age; One was named Mark, the other Jeff. The three of us were friends in church and also out of church. We were in the same school as well and shared similar interests in cars and motorsports. We three started wearing vests with our white shirt and tie every Sunday together. We enjoyed our unique friendship and expressed that with our dressing similarly. I admit, it was a tradition that I enjoyed. When we had stake conference, we did the same thing. Our stake president got up, during the meeting, and asked us to remove our vests. I was totally embarrassed. Being just 15 years old, I had a hard time processing that in my mind. We did as he asked, and I threw away all of my vests. I never thought we were better than anyone else. And to this day, we all three of us, are still friends nearly 30 years later.

I’m sure the list goes on. I think it’s good to question the way we act from time to time. I don’t have clear cut answer to the OP. Just that it’s healthy to look at our traditions and see how they affect us and those around us.

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I've never heard of those two. Are we supposed to use white bread because it represents Jesus' body, and he was white?

And what do you mean by "Home teaching at church instead of at home"? That sounds very unusual.

Who ever is enforcing the 'white bread" hasn't read the Doctrine and Covenants. The Doctrine of the Church is that you do not have to use bread or water at all, you can use whatever you want so long as you do so in remembrance of Christ.

i have had wheat bread for Sacrement many times.

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Messenger

Great topic. The last ward I was in the Gospel Doctrine teacher, who was also the seminary teacher, had taught GD for over 8 years. They aren't about to remove them. It is also tradition to wear jeans and cowboy boots to church, in my last ward. I never did but plenty of members in that ward do and it is was refreshing to see. During the fall and spring when the cattle needed to be moved, many of the ward members would be absent while they were on a cattle drive instead of at church. This tradition is so steeped in the local culture that it is completely normal for half the priesthood to be gone doing a drive for a couple of sundays a year. I loved that ward. Ma ny times the sisters would accompany the men on the drives and be absent to.

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