I have to admit, President Dieter Uchtdorf’s talk “The Gift of Grace” surprised me. But as I think about it, it was the logical move. When I was converted to a grace-based Gospel, I had the idea myself that the LDS church could vastly improve its teaching by simply adding Evangelical-style grace to the formula, and as Tim has proven, it barely produced a ripple. If the Church leadership doesn’t jump on this opportunity to make the church a more powerful force in the world by moving toward orthodoxy, I will know they have no hope. If they do preach grace and salvation, they just might make themselves the true Church they claim to be.
If Uchtdorf pushed his neo-Mormon-Lutheranism down the throats of the correlation committee, the church will be in a great position to boost its power to spread to the third world. Given how theologically wacky Brigham Young was, there should be no objection at all from the membership if the First Presidency started transforming into a full-blown Evangelical mega-megachurch. It has the media resources to put the pseudo-Christians at TBN to shame, and the organizational resources and financial support that should inflict most megachurches with a heathen lust. Whether or not move toward orthodoxy was accepted by the rest of the body of Christ, the LDS church could actually adopt the cutting edge of Protestant theologies, whatever would propagate faster in each individual culture.
Mormonism already has a competitive advantage over many Christian churches because its religious structure is much more akin to post-Christian paganism than Protestant churches. They have the catholic capacity to mint new authoritative doctrine and tradition, and the nimble doctrine of modern-day prophecy to maximize their theological impact. This has got to play better in tribal societies that need a strong church structure within unstable nation-states. For example, the Congo needs Mormonism badly, for social reasons as much as religious ones. If Evangelicals got serious about teaching the Apostles how the preach the Gospel better, the Church could be a powerful force to spread hope to Africa.
The reason why Uchtdorf’s talk didn’t raise eyebrows is because grace-based theology is simply superior religious technology. From a religious perspective was as if this German airline pilot showed up with an iPhone 8 in a room full of flip phones. Uchtdorf and other right-thinking church leaders could revise the entire church curriculum, most of the membership who has heard of the Evangelical gospel are all-too-happy to jump ship on Brigham Young and Co.’s archaic theology. Because the King Follet discourse has been kept from the canon, there is almost no need to even minimize it, simply allow people to believe what they want and preach the real McCoy in the correlated literature. Any rift within the church could be countered with a form of Gamaliel’s counsel coming from the First Presidency. The missionaries can integrate a grace-based message into the first discussion, and you will immediately dramatically increase the conversion rate.
The reason I think this is a good idea, is that the semi-pagan structure of the church, and allowance for further prophecy is a very important step toward bringing the Gospel to Islamic countries and pagan Europe. The only evidence I have is a curious up-tick in Iranian-American baptisms in Southern California. (Muslims becoming anything like Christians is a very important phenomena in my book.) By coming out with the truth behind Joseph Smith’s sex life, the church could distance itself from his later teachings yet maintain the “secret sauce” that is the Book of Mormon. Thus it could maintain its well-ordered authoritarian structure and true-church status all while moving to a more orthodox — and therefore more appealing — Gospel without jeopardizing unity. I think they could become a force to be reckoned with in spreading the actual Gospel if they went this route.
I propose the Christian world act like Alma the Elder and push toward this new path in policy and doctrine.