I sit down and have a discussion with Jon Westover over What is Doctrine and What isn’t. We attempt to try and excavate doctrine amidst the culture. Using statements from leaders and our own unauthoritative insights, we try to establish ways the average member can navigate “What is Doctrine”.
– How big is the “Box” of Mormon Doctrine?
– What is the Church’s official stance on what is Doctrine?
– Is there more room for those struggling to have more flexibility?
– What was Joseph Smith’s feelings on creeds and dogma and defining Mormonism strictly?
To get to know our guest participant, Jon Westover better, please check out these information resources
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Hi Bill… Thanks for your work and this episode.
One question that continually eats at me:
I agree that we should seek confirmation of our leaders teachings. I agree that if we sincerely seek, but don’t receive that confirmation, that we are under no obligation to follow it. But, shouldn’t force our “truth” on the church. That seems to work with something like women receiving priesthood. That is a policy that affects the entire church.
But for direction given by leaders, that we have a choice to obey INDIVIDUALLY, but do not receive a confirmation of… What do you consider your obligation? For example: beards, white shirts, tattoos, specifics on modesty, word of wisdom, tithing, etc, etc, etc.
Things where my actions don’t attempt to force the church my way. I can follow or not follow in relative silence. But yet, my decision to not follow them will probably bring comments if not consequences.
I hear a lot of people comment that if the leader directive isn’t requiring to BREAK any commandments… Then just follow along. It’s not hurting anyone. Which makes sense to a point. But, at the same time… It doesn’t really feel like the way God would transmit his will to us.
Again there is a principle. In the Doctrine of tithing we are told “No one is justified in making any other statement than this.” and that it is a personal decision. With the temple and wearing of the garment we are told that It is “an outward expression of an inner commitment to follow the Lord Jesus Christ” In otherwords behavior signals our motives. This is flawed though as Only God knows our heart. My 2 cents. Do what seems right and don’t worry how others react if you feel good about it. I wear colored shirts 2-3 times a month. But I am still faithful. I serve. I help when other ward members choose not to. My inner commitment can not be questioned because I wear a pink shirt. People see I am one of the few who is willing to roll my sleeves up and jump into the work. That will tell those who judge righteously all they need to know. As for others ….. who cares.
Thanks… everything you just said makes perfect sense. And I attempt to have my actions and service speak for me as much as possible, as well.
I think my distress comes in being involved in a culture of such frequent “unrighteous judgement” that it can leave me (and probably a lot of others) feeling less valiant. Maybe I can let that roll off… though sometimes I can’t. And it too frequently makes for less than edifying Sabbath days when someone makes a comment about my beard or pressures a Friends of Scouting donation as a prophetic request or gives a guilt trip because I decide to watch the Priesthood Session with my son at home instead of a church building.
And even as I am learning to place less emphasis on the opinions of others, I have concern for my kids, for whom I really want uplifiting church experiences, as opposed to guilt for (for example) disobeying their leaders on stake dance festival participation.
Anyway… I know this is just the current state of affairs and we do what we can to improve it. But, attempts to have that uplifting gospel experience, while just ignoring the “philosophies of men” (which often include bishops, HP Group Leaders, Stake Presidency, etc) can be easier said than done.