Changing Focus?

There’s a persistent question that keeps popping up over the last 10 years or so: “is this LDS church attempting to mainstream?” If so, why? Is it just to appear more “acceptable” to the general public? Is it an attempt to reconcile LDS theology with classical Christianity?

We had a new visitor to our blog yesterday that pointed me to his blog. I took great interest to see if what he states in his title is “for real”. Is the LDS church changing focus? If they are, what are they now focusing on? Is there a renewed focus on Jesus Christ and the Bible?

Check out the blog Latter-Day Saints Changing Focus. And tell me what you think (or better yet, tell him what you think). It’s full of quotes and talks by Robert Millet and Blake Ostler (two LDS scholars who I know have spent a great deal of time talking with Evangelical theologians). I think a number of the posts are way too long for blog postings, but I appreciate the effort to make sure these lectures are posted in their entirety somewhere on the internet.

It actually is my hope that LDS church is mainstreaming. Not so that it no longer is unique and is just like every other Protestant denomination, but just so that it no longer holds onto heresy. I actually would love to see an LDS church that continues to practice temple ordinances, sealings, and baptisms for the dead. I would love to see an LDS church that continues to teach that families are eternal and that there are degrees of glory and that lay ministry is vital to healthy ministry. All of these things are wonderfully unique elements of LDS worship. I doubt many would have huge complaint against the LDS church if they continued these practices if they also no longer believed in a plurality of gods, or that man can become a god or that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are 3 separate gods instead of 1. I’d even be happy to see them continue to use the Book of Mormon if they discontinued using the Pearl of Great Price and the D&C.

3 thoughts on “Changing Focus?

  1. Interesting subject. I would find it miraculous if the LDS church decided to dump their belief in 3 separate beings (i.e. Father, Son and Holy Ghost). This would contradict Joseph’s vision in which he claims to have seen the Father and Son separately. So accepting a Trinitarian view of the Godhead would effectively say that Joseph Smith was a fraud and the Mormon faith would disintegrate. The Pearl of Great Price and D&C would be hard to wiggle out of since the LDS church has canonized them. However, because of our belief in a living prophet anything is possible. I’m surprised at how much you would be willing to accept, would you really be ok with Mormons keeping the Book of Mormon if a false prophet wrote it?

  2. I actually think the First Vision would be the easiest thing to get around. There’s something like 6 versions. In the first couple of versions he didn’t see God the Father and Jesus together. I think one of the first ones said he saw an angel. So the church would just need to say “Hey this older one is more reliable.”

    I also think that if the LDS church wanted to (and this is a BIG “wanted to”) they could claim that Joseph was a true prophet but eventually fell into prophetic abuse. Or that God chose a broken vessel to bring the Book of Mormon to the world. Either scenario would protect the BoM while at the same time deconstructing PoGP and D&C.

    I personally would be okay with the LDS church keeping the Book of Mormon because there is hardly anything in it theologically that contradicts the Bible or established orthodoxy. In fact, it’s a much more pro-Trinitarian document than even the Bible. It makes much more explicit statements supporting that doctrine than the Bible does (a post for another time). Most of it’s “unique” teachings are just answers to 19th Century Protestant debates, like infant baptism and paid ministry.

    I think that the church would probably have to say that it was inspired fiction, but I don’t know I think people could go on believing that it’s true. I don’t really have a big issue with people believing the Shroud of Turn is Jesus’ actual burial shroud.

  3. Wow, I was going to ask about the BoM comment in your post but that was answer enough. Very interesting stuff but I don’t ever see the Church making all or even any of the changes you are suggesting. This Church is pretty slow on making changes we should make, let alone huge doctrinal shifts to the mainstream.

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