Inerrancy among Church Employees about Church Materials

I recently had a conversation in a public Facebook group (now deleted by an admin) about the “printing error” in the 2020 Book of Mormon manual. I raised some substantial concerns, filled out with a number of links to my own research and posts about cursing in scripture (e.g. here and in my posts on 2 Nephi 1-5, here and here). Two S&I (Seminaries and Institute) /COB (Church Office Building) employees responded to me by bearing fervent testimony of the Curriculum and Correlation processes and berating anyone who dared hold any other opinion.

These testimonies constituted de facto witnessing of inerrancy (not the first I’ve seen) and also violated Elder Ballard’s directive specifically to S&I teachers;

“Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue.”

I even called them out on avoiding the central issues, which received no response. One of them said (quoting from a screenshot),

“It is not just Correlation that reviews and approves curriculum, but the very Apostles and prophets you are using to attempt to straighten [first S&I commenter] out. Does it really not occur to you that the Quorum of the Twelve understands and approves these materials? The ‘ark’ does not need steadying.”

Let’s set aside the traditional misunderstanding of the “steadying the ark” story. Let’s set aside the fact that Elder Stevenson demonstrates below that in this case, the ark did need steadying, as Curriculum, Correlation, and review failed to do its job, or more likely, simply saw nothing wrong with what had been written. Let’s set aside that manuals themselves invite feedback and constructive criticism via an email address. (Seriously, open any printed manual and look. I myself was one of those back in fall who was made aware of the problems with the printed manual, and privately raised my voice.)

No, the problem is that while S&I may venerate these manuals because of their mythic view of the review process, it does not appear that such intensive Apostolic review is actually the case. (Even if it were, it would not guarantee the correctness of the material.)

From the Deseret News on January 20, here is an Apostle speaking about this issue, my italics.

Elder Stevenson preceded his remarks by expressing regret that the church’s 2020 “Come, Follow Me” gospel study manual includes an old statement that dark skin in the Book of Mormon was the sign of a curse.

Elder Stevenson disavowed that statement.

“One of our recent church manuals includes a paragraph with some outdated commentary about race,” he said. “It was mistakenly included in the printed version of the manual, which had been prepared for print nearly two years ago. When it was brought to the attention of church leaders late last year, they directed that it be immediately removed in our annual online manual, which is used by the great majority of our members. We have also directed that any future printed manuals will reflect this change.

We’re asking our members to disregard the paragraph in the printed manual,” he added. “Now I’m deeply saddened and hurt by this error and for any pain that it may have caused our members and for others. I would just like to reiterate our position as a church is clear. We do condemn all racism, past and present, in any form, and we disavow any theory advanced that black or dark skin is a sign of a curse. We are brothers and sisters, and I consider you friends. I love and appreciate you,” he said, drawing applause from those gathered.

So, in Elder Stevenson’s words, this was a mistake in the manual, which escaped the attention of Church leaders.

His words do not lend support to the view of these two S&I employees that the printed published manuals must be treated as the infallible word of God because they have been closely reviewed by Apostles. Nor does the printed history support it.

Example 1, manuals change, sometimes 180 degrees.

Another example of the review process comes from Dan Peterson’s story (links here). Writing a manual, he included a joke in the NT manual about Paul preaching late into the night, and Eutychus falling asleep from boredom, and falling out the window to his death, only to be brought back to life by Paul. Peterson included the following thought question.

Have a class member read Acts 20:7-12. Have you ever killed anyone with a sacrament meeting speech? How did it make you feel? What steps can you take in the future to ensure that it does not happen again?

This text went all the way through the review process, and was included in the final galleys, when Peterson, surprised, suggested that perhaps it should not be included.

A third example of a different sort. The 1980 Old Testament Institute manual (which is still the current manual) included a 2000-word excerpt from a Seventh-day Adventist creationism pamphlet about science and evolution (Harold Coffin, Creation: The Evidence from Science)

At no level of review or Correlation was any pushback or suggestion made that this was perhaps not a great source to use. Ditto for the inclusion of Immanuel Velikovsky, and Joseph Fielding Smith’s forced and false dichotomy that one must choose between evolution and the Gospel.

The result? A lot of unnecessary loss of faith through self-inflicted intellectual injuries, shooting ourselves in the spiritual foot.

In Italy, the church manual used for teaching the Old Testament in Seminaries and Institutes was a translation of a manual that focused on the writings of conservative Mormon leaders who opposed Darwin’s theory of evolution. The manual failed to balance the presentation by citing the writings of moderate church authorities who have sought to find harmony between science and religion on this question. The ensuing debates on this issue among members aroused tension and continued to be a source of discord.- Toronto, Dursteler, and Homer, Mormons in the Piazza: History of the Latter-day Saints in Italy. (I am indebted to Ardis E. Parshall for bringing this reference to my attention.)

Beyond Italy, I could speak at length and by name about a number of high-profile exits from the Church caused quite directly by false teachings of inerrancy combined with false framings of science and religion, often evolution, the age of the earth, the flood, etc. (See here at the bottom for one.)

Inerrancy is a false doctrine, and dramatically undermines faith in the long-term. 


What are our youth getting? What are they being fed? If S&I professionals, curriculum writers, and others associated with or employed by the Church (see below) are teaching and encouraging inerrancy, they are creating false expectations about the gospel and Church leadership, and setting students up for massive spiritual failure and utter loss of faith. What is the average volunteer teacher to think?

Just today, I saw an anecdote about a mission president teaching that the manual writing and approval process consists of divine dictation, the very height of fundamentalism and inerrancy!

My mission president tried to paint a picture of James E. Talmage sitting in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple, taking shorthand notes as he interviewed Christ Himself for the story of His life. “You can be assured that your discussion booklets and Missionary Guide have been provided in the same way. When you teach, you are using the literal words of Jesus Christ.”

I have raised this issue before in context of the  2020 Old Testament Seminary manual (now gone with the Come Follow Me realignment). I have spoken about LDS inerrancy and fundamentalism at the FAIRMormon conference. My professional research deals with American fundamentalism, interpretations of scripture, and the interactions with science; Latter-day Saints —particularly those responsible for writing and approving manuals and magazines— swim within that American intellectual stream. It affects how we read our scriptures and understand creation. It affects how we think about science and religion. It affects how we write our manuals, which affects how teachers teach, how we grow up and integrate assumptions about “what The Church teaches.”

These are not “academic” concerns, but issues that directly affect faith and activity.

One faithful LDS friend wrote that he hoped the manual writers received some professional repercussions. I initially balked at that, but on further reflection and the conversations above…

Well, I try to write very carefully, but I feel a need to be blunt here because of what’s at stake. I am devastated at the losses we continue to inflict on ourselves by pushing inerrancy and fundamentalism, and I keep uncovering more and more of it in my historical research in archives and interviews. I’m frustrated and I’m mad.

Those who continue to push these ideas of inerrancy and fundamentalism, in the Church’s name, with the cultural authority of “Well, I work in the Church Office Building” or “I’m a professional Seminary/Institute teacher,” paid by tithing funds, should be fired, or at least forced into early retirement like Randy Bott. In pushing thoughtless fundamentalism and inerrancy, they undermine the Church’s mission, they undermine faith, and they destroy God’s children.

You want to know where some cancerous faith-destroying messages are coming from? Not “the world” but middle-management Church employees.

(Follow-up post here)

26 thoughts on “Inerrancy among Church Employees about Church Materials

  1. Ben, I feel you on this one. I grew up with a pretty fundamental interpretation of scripture (especially OT), and my testimony nearly broke as I dove into the world of biblical scholarship. I’m overly anxious, but hopeful, that we can change the hermeneutic of the Church! Thank you for your work and persistence in this area.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ben, I recently discovered your blog post and have really been enjoying it. Keep up the good work.

    I also agree with the devestating impacts that fundamentalism and inerrancy have on the transition to mature faith. It seems to have an isolating and stunting effect on one’s ability to combine faith and reason into a benefical combination, at least one that benefits the congregation. I was very relieved to read authors like Marcus Borg and few years ago and see another way of conceptualizing faith, scripture, revelation, etc. I’m a big fan of these methods now and advocate their use in our tradition. However, as you can imagine it isn’t always well recieved.

    I enjoyed your discussion above because it contains a very nuanced view about how the culture of fundamentalism can be passed on by rank and file leaders, members and even church employees. I suppose in some respect those of us who have matured through several stages of life grew up in an era when fundamentalism and inerrancy were essential calling cards of priesthood authority. So, it makes sense to me that a middle aged or older member or employee could continue to perpetuate these beliefs.

    My question has to do with leadership, primarily because I am not privy to the way our leaders speak out on these issues at a general level. From my lay perspective in the congregation it appears that our leadership authority claims benefit much from the ideas of fundamentalism and inerrancy, and wonder if general leaders themselves have a responsibiltiy to speak up on this issue? Or perhaps this is still one of those traditional blinders that still impacts our tradition from top to bottom?

    In any case, it would be a great move forward if we stopped apologizing and shunning each other through the use of fundamentalist trump cards like inerrancy. I think your research is an important step in the right direction in that regard. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Best Regards,
    David Kay

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  3. Just came across your blog today, you quickly gained a follower. Very impressed.

    You stated, “ Well, I try to write very carefully, but I feel a need to be blunt here because of what’s at stake.” For that I respect you. Not an easy path. Yet it holds the very values which is at the core of how I was raised. Doing the right, no matter the cost. Keep it up.

    Though I am no longer a member, I am cheering for members on the inside to make the changes needed. In the case of this lesson manual, the impact it makes on children and families is massive. I read the Come Follow Me article in December and wrote my own blog post from an Indigenous view. Can I just say thank you for speaking about this from a completely different view point? You gave me a lot to think about.

    What are your thought on this weeks lesson which includes Christopher Columbus teachings? Also, what are your thoughts about how the skin curse theology is still in the seminary teachers manual (has been for years)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I told my kids that the Columbus explanation, while the most obvious (to an American steeped in a tradition of manifest destiny) is *an* interpretation, not *the* interpretation, ET Benson and manuals notwithstanding. The ‘gentile’ spoken of can by any of a number of the explorers of that era, a symbol to represent the whole. My Canadian neighbor will say it’s John Cabot, just to ruffle some Wasatch Front feathers.

      And by extension, the American Revolution explanation, while also ‘obvious’, ignores ~300 years of Spanish dominance [not forgetting Portugal either] in the western hemisphere, and the Latin American wars of independence in the early nineteenth century (which, if one subscribes to the Meso-American model, makes the ‘Grito de Dolores’ far more relevant to Nephi’s descendants than the Boston Tea Party). It’s important to remember that the Book of Mormon is not a book about “‘Murica!”.

      As for the skin curse thing, I refer folks to more recent declarations, like the one from Elder Stevenson linked above.

      On a side note, the OP reminds me of a little joke I heard long ago:
      Catholics say that the Pope is infallible, but no one believes it.
      Mormons say that the prophet is fallible, but no one believes it.

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  4. I have really come to appreciate your nuanced perspective on this problem of inerrancy and fundamentalism; that things are complicated because they involve people who are far removed from us in space and time (and i believe it was Talmage who said that oversimplifying the gospel and scriptures does them no reverence). It has helped me so much in finally moving past the unsatisfying, codified, and often thoughtless traditions that get propagated throughout the larger culture, like a 5,000 year-old earth, no death before the fall (taught by an Institute instructor who was also my stake president), a global flood (in a culture that had no concept of the globe), etc. I have recently thought of a simple summary statement for all of what you describe, both here and in other writings as linked above:

    Genesis is not a “How It’s Made ” vignette.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It seems to me that we are becoming a church of man and not a Church of God. The idea that middle management employees are shaming anyone for questioning is absurd. I will not become a robot. No way. I really feel that is what the Church is trying to do to me.

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  6. Ben, as a middle-management Church employee let me just state that I never saw the manuals as infallible, or the people who wrote them. To go even further, I never saw the leaders of the Church, including the Prophet, the Apostles, or the General Officers as infallible. It seems that the danger here is a doctrinal misunderstanding that we only teach the perfection of God and Christ. If there are those who teach otherwise they need to be corrected, especially if they are middle-management Church employees, but let’s not be too hasty and condemn an entire category of people. As much as we love to revile those that work in the Church Office Building or write curriculum, we need to have charity and love for them and see them as the struggling sinners that they and we all are.

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  7. I LOVED this. I used to work for the church and I learned real quick. The gospel is true, the ” church” is a load of crap. My husband grew up in a family that to this day 200% believes if the bishop doesn’t like peanut butter then there will be NONE in the house. Thank you THANK YOU for writing this

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  8. A bit off topic, but why do i get the feeling that some “middle management” employee wrote the blurb in the New Era (Aug 2019) about green tea and vaping?

    It seems as though something as important as clarifying doctrine would be handled via a conference address or an official letter, signed. Instead, it was put out in a teenager magazine and without attribution.

    We get official letters if temple clothing is altered, but not word of wisdom clarification?

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    1. My thoughts exactly. I’ve been very concerned about that green tea article. How many kids are going to grow up thinking green tea is bad but they feel good about drinking soda. I don’t believe Joseph smith was told anything about green tea being bad, it just got thrown into the mix by well meaning people. Maybe it was because you can simmer the tea leaves and drink it hot. I don’t know why anyone would feel green tea is any different than herbal tea. I personally drink green tea because of the health benefits and avoid soda pop and yet there are many members who drink large amounts of soda and I believe it is a huge contributor to ill health. I also noticed and found it interesting that this article was not signed by anyone .

      I really liked the last official statement by the church on the word of wisdom. I think this a better approach as we know it is not good to be commanded in all things and that we were given free agency for a reason so we could decide.
      Here is the official statement by the first presidency. I don’t know what year this was but I believe this was released when president Hinckley was the prophet.

      “It is one thing to drink tea and coffee in the ordinary way, that is, to make a practice of doing so, and especially of taking those beverages strong, and another thing entirely to drink tea or coffee as a medicine. All such things were created in the beginning for the use of man, that is, for a wise use, and it is for the Saints to know for themselves what constitutes a wise use and to govern themselves accordingly. This is the spirit in which the revelation called the Word of Wisdom should be understood and taught. “ (Statements of the First Presidency, 506-507)[/b]

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  9. Hi Ben,

    I’m a pretty regular reader of the blog, and we’re basically on the same page here about this issue. It also happens that I am an employee of the Church—though not a manager of any kind—and I am frequently having to push back against the notion of functional inerrancy that I hear from most people here (except, unsurprisingly, the Church History Department). I especially share your frustration and anger because I can see, from my vantage point, that most of these times that we’ve shot ourselves in the foot, an employee has tried to point out that some problematic language or action could have negative consequences, but decision makers ultimately dismissed that suggestion.

    But I’m really not here to dish out on employees or departments. Because while I completely agree with your assessment about the pernicious, cancerous heresy of inerrancy, I’d differ slightly with you about the source.

    The views of either S&I employees or middle-managers don’t come about in a vacuum. Ultimately, the real problem is that the fundamentalist views of these employees—which, as far as I can see, are basically the normative, orthodox culture of the church—are the direct result of the prophets’ and apostles’ frequent fundamentalist teachings, including the repeated assurances that they are functionally inerrant. Yes, we can both produce a number of counterexamples—I keep them in my figurative back pocket, too, for discussions with ward members. But far more common than those few gems are the statements to the effect that no one ever need question the scriptures or anything the prophets or apostles teach, because they will only ever teach undiluted, unchanging, eternal truth.

    I believe that this is the true church and that these men are called of God. But I’m convinced that our current culture of fundamentalism is reinforced from the top down, every six months.

    As you’ve noted, this attributed inerrancy is not only given to general church leaders but to church publications as well. And again, I have to emphasize that this idea didn’t come out of nowhere but is the result of apostles’ own teachings. Consider this statement by President Eyring that appears in S&I’s pre-service readings and is also quoted in S&I’s Gospel Teaching and Learning (basically the handbook of S&I teachers):

    “[President Clark] made clear that we must teach the fundamental doctrines of the Church as contained in the standard works and the teachings of the prophets, whose responsibility it is to declare doctrine. Those who design the curriculum have followed that injunction carefully. Every lesson plan, every suggestion for what to teach and how to teach it is prepared according to that principle. Those called by the prophet to assure the correctness of doctrine taught in the Church review every word, every picture, every diagram in that curriculum which you receive. We can unlock the power of the curriculum simply by acting on our faith that it is inspired of God” (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teaching-seminary-preservice-readings-religion-370-471-and-475/the-lord-will-multiply-the-harvest; see also https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-teaching-and-learning-a-handbook-for-teachers-and-leaders-in-seminaries-and-institutes-of-religion/preparing-to-teach).

    So, yes, it feels pretty absurd when a church member or seminary teacher insists with indignant fervor—bears testimony, even—that every lesson, every teaching suggestion, and every word of every curriculum has prophetic approval and is inspired by God. But that’s because an apostle has literally told them that this is true, and they are literally trained to think this way.

    Like you, I’m upset that there is apparently no learning and no accountability from any of these self-inflicted wounds. I’m upset that the Correlation review process, based on my interactions with it, seems fundamentally flawed. But S&I and middle-managers are doing no more, in my opinion, than faithfully adopting the fundamentalist views that they are taught by our leaders. And if I’m wrong in my assessment of our leaders’ acceptance of those views, then they’re still responsible for not doing more to counter them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very well said. This is the way it appears to me as well. It seems like our tradition’s authority claims benefit very much from fundamentalist views such as inerrancy. Perhaps this is why they are so persistent.

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  10. Your last two paragraphs! 🔥

    Sad to note that I was pushed out of my job as a full time S&I teacher for attempting to be honest in the way you describe. S&I is a dumpster fire.

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  11. The Church’s manuals drive me nuts, especially when they engage in cherry-picking and textual gerrymandering to ensure the audience reaches the “right” conclusion. In one of the older manuals I remember a reading assignment that was something like 1 Jehosaphat 1–5:24, 5:26-39, 6–7 (obviously I no longer recall the exact passage in question). It had selectively excised one verse from the reading. Why? Because that one verse rather directly contradicted the nice and tidy box the lesson wanted the audience to put everything in. I always wondered if the authors really thought nobody would notice their sleight-of-hand.

    I also recall the Old Testament manual that would have led readers to think that Proverbs consisted of cute sayings. Never mind there is a long history of textual criticism that sees it as the most important of the Old Testament books for understanding Christology, and never mind that someone who actually reads it with any intent will quickly get that there is more going on in it than a collection of sayings. None of that was apparent from the manual, which also lumped it in with Ecclesiastes in one week, largely so it could present a 60s-song view of Ecclesiastes and get past it without readers realizing it definitely does *not* support our tidy view of the Gospel. When I taught Gospel Doctrine, I gave the best lesson of my tenure on Proverbs and I addressed head on the problematics of our understanding of Ecclesiastes. Afterward some class members expressed gratitude to me that my lesson let them realize their discomfort with Ecclesiastes was not a consequence of their lack of understanding, but rather one of their actually reading the text. Sadly, the “divinely inspired” manual missed out on all of this in favor of a Primary-level understanding.

    I will say that the new manuals are better, but I still have to grit my teeth at the guiding questions they include, which remain highly leading. Sometimes the manuals are simply wrong.

    It’s a sad world if we have to accept every word of the manuals as though it were scripture, because if that is the age of miracles and revelation foretold by prophets of old, it would rather indicate God is running out of steam. It’s much less problematic for us to accept that the manuals are the imperfect work of well-intentioned humans who have to address a diverse audience. It’s a lot easier to be charitable to them if we don’t have to believe they had a literal tap into the divine mind and that the manuals were all they could get from it.

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    1. Thank you for your post. Would love to read your lesson notes on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. When the manual specified skipping over an uncomfortable or problematic verse, I would often make a point of reading it and inviting discussion.

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  12. I spent over seven years working in the now defunct Curriculum Department. I worked for the magazines, not in the manual-creating division, but the main problem stems from the Church bureaucracy, with which I am intimately acquainted. There is a culture of fear in the employment side of the Church. Middle management was always afraid to contradict or even give feedback to General Authority advisers (yes, they spell it this way). We jokingly referred to our managing director’s office as “the place where good ideas go to die.” The result was what I called “de facto infallibility.” The GAs would never claim to be infallible, but they expect to be treated as if they were. This culture produces the sort of cult hero worship we really ought to be wary of. Yes, we should “respect the office” of our leaders, but I believe that includes giving them honest feedback. Not all inspiration is top-down in this Church. Lots of good ideas percolate up from the lower levels, unless they are stifled. And some very bad ideas come down the organizational pipeline. GAs are human too, you know. I recall one apostle issuing an edict that the magazines could not show photos of anyone wearing denim (you know, that evil fabric) or temples that were not totally white (except the Salt Lake Temple). These are innocuous examples, but they illustrate the problem. Let’s get rid of this whole infallibility culture in the Church.

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    1. From what I can tell, this is still very much the case now. There is a lot of fear, and anything done or said by a general authority is treated as beyond question or criticism. Sometimes, managers announce some new rule or direction as the will of the “The Brethren”—a vague, unverifiable designation that serves, intentionally or not, to end discussion around a matter. (In my first year at the church, I was also told by someone in magazines about that apostolic prohibition on denim, the most immoral of textiles.)

      As an institution, the church is currently structured in a way that exacerbates rather than mitigates normal human weakness. There is simply no functioning institutional mechanism for faithful, constructive feedback to be sent to any higher level, either ecclesiastical or corporate (which, of course, merge at the top). In our culture of fear in which conformity is valued above all, sincere dissent is perceived as dangerous disloyalty.

      I believe that our leaders are eminently good, spiritual men. But they’ve allowed—and often encouraged—a culture to grow up, both in and out of the COB, that structurally promotes detrimental human organizational behaviors.

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  13. Ben, I have read a number of your posts over the years and have purchased and read many of the books you have recommended about the scriptures, much to my profit. Your analyses are always insightful and instructive.

    My only criticism, in general, is that you frequently let the church off to easy when evaluating the manner in which it approaches our Standard Works via the manuals and other sources. That is certainly not the case, however, with this post. Here, now you have taken the gloves off, for which you are to be thanked and applauded.

    Your words today actually carry more force and power because of the restraint you have exhibited in the past. The problem of inerrancy, however, is cancerous in nature and it’s in the 4th stage. If it can be cured—and I’m not sure that is likely since the patient doesn’t seem to realize it is sick—it will take at least a generation. In the meantime, the body of the church will continue to lose members.

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  14. I recall when I was taking the missionary discussions, I made some reasonable criticism of some of the content to the missionaries teaching me. (It was more the presentation than any kind of doctrinal disagreement.) They were aghast: “Brother Jones, these discussions were literally written in the temple by the First Presidency! There’s no room for any disagreement or other interpretations!” I, uh, do not think that the First Presidency literally wrote the missionary lessons in the temple.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I personally believe that when we look to religion for more than tools on how to be better people, we completely miss the point and can easily and ironically be misled and worse off morally.

    As an aside, the way things are headed with the Plasma Cosmology revolution in astrophysics, Immanuel Velikovsky may actually be vindicated in part. 🙂 Now I’m curious as to what was quoted.

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  16. I have been thinking about this and related issues a lot. I have a crazy crazy notion about it all. Feel free anyone to reply.

    I’m thinking that the current hierarchical, conservative nature of our church may be currently tailored to what our church members are able to handle at the moment. Even though it all feels less than ideal in many ways. Including the fact that it is keeping and pushing people away from the church at the moment.

    Personally, the fact that so many of our US members support delusional and destructive ideologies and national leaders is evidence to me that our members may not be ready yet.

    Meanwhile, those of us who feel ready to dig deeper and hear a less simplistic, more challenging narrative have people like Ben Spackman, and many others who are willing to teach us.

    I know this could come across as arrogant, elitist or pessimistic. But the church is true, it is the Lord’s church. He is aware of these problems. Personally, I am praying for a new and brighter day in the future.

    In the meantime, as many of us as possible should keep learning and improving our own spheres of influence, while not forgetting the gospel basics such as loving our neighbor.

    Hopefully those who have the ear of our top leaders will become more and more informed about these problems, and be able to pass that on to our leaders, to the extent that they do not already realize them.

    It seems that at some point we need to start making major progress if we are going to build Zion and govern the whole earth during the Millennium. Seems like we have a long way to go, possibly much farther than I had previously supposed.

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    1. I want to reply just to this statement in your comment: “I’m thinking that the current hierarchical, conservative nature of our church may be currently tailored to what our church members are able to handle at the moment. Even though it all feels less than ideal in many ways.”

      My thought is that the church is moving us away from the strict hierarchical leadership that I grew up with…we no longer are handheld to do ministering, and we have less time at church for instruction. Are they not leading us to more independent forms of worship? Expecting us to study more at home and independently decide how we will minister to each other…Even the youth program is less guided by SLC and with more input by the individual. Congregations, classes, and individual youth programs/goals will differ. I know your comment was reaching into other areas, but these were my thoughts as I read your comment.

      Like

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