Comments about ‘New Harmony: Is it bedrock truth or a regional standard?’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Far East USA, SC

"Many Mormons, I suspect, feel a bit shaken when something they’ve held as irrefutable is suddenly adjusted by the powers that be."

"Adjusted by the powers that be" is a perfect description.

The "powers that be" certainly professed many things that future "powers that be" looked back and called it the opinion of a fallible man.

The LDS are prolific note takers. They record everything. Past leaders made countless statements that were certainly meant to be accepted as "truth".

And as hindsight is 20/20, and as our scientific knowledge grows, or as societal norms change, adjustments to "truth" were required.

And you are worried about what constitutes a sandal?

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Mr. Johnston is always interesting. Always thought provoking.

Thank you.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

"a Brigham Young University professor say that he felt members of the church would be surprised at how few “bedrock, unchangeable absolutes” there really are in the church"

When the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency say that, then maybe it can be taken as truth?

Perhaps the problem Jerry is writing about is created by a lack of clarity about who is and who is not authorized to speak the "absolute" truths of Mormonism.

That's not a problem we atheists ever have to worry about.

orem, UT

These thoughts are right on, and it IS difficult to separate truth from culture at times. I am grateful for living prophets who help us sort through these things and make clear the difference.

Glendora, CA

White shirts only?
High skirt lines are OK, but showing even slight cleavage isn't?
Who makes up these "standards"?

Soccer Coach 18
Syracuse, UT

Would have been nice to see some examples of each? This article really tells us nothing.

Danbury, CT

I appreciate the focus in many congregations outside the US on core topics e.g. faith, charity, sacrifice, repentance, etc. The things that really focus on the behavioral traits that make us better, more loving people and bring us closer to God are the ones that matter most and are really timeless. I feel that often where we have larger LDS populations, we tend to lose focus on these things and detour off on the "cultural" truths mentioned here.

I find actually in going back to old Conference talks in the last 50 years that there is not a lot of change in what the General Authorities are talking about. Missionary work is as important now as it was in the days of Pres. Kimball. Elder Ashton talked about how we should treat one another in ways that are especially relevant today (see "Bashing").

The idea that one political view i.e. American Conservatism or Liberalism is aligned with LDS principles is another of example of a regional standard. God is not of one US political party and there are members in other lands who are surprised by the zeal of some of us in the Mountain West.

Sandy, UT

This article seemed seemed generic, pointless, and incomplete. There are a number of things members do or believe in the church that are based on tradition rather than doctrine often don't know the difference. I had hoped this article might have discussed some of these in a thoughtful way. Instead, the author just made a few light comments touching on the idea and then the article ended.

Eden, UT

Is it possible that as science continues to expand our thinking - that even "Bedrock Principles" will change? From evolution to gay rights, science is "adjusting" the bedrock.

Brother Benjamin Franklin
Orem, UT

I think the comments and article are excellent. The author is clearly insightful regarding the topic and it leads me to ponder many things.

I just wonder why the LDS Church has not been so malleable with regards to gay marriage, to abortion, and to other things.

You say that your standards are malleable and adjustable, and yet you will not allow gays and lesbians any more privilege than to join in your services. That does not reflect well on your faith.

You say this, and yet the faith demands a strict compliance to following the commands of a president. They may be helpful requests that lead to better living, but that is not my point here. My point is they are not bendable. That does not reflect well.

The reason people see members of your faith are weird, thick, and closed-minded is because you are unwilling to expand your viewpoint beyond your own doctrines and anything that conforms to it.

Salem, UT

Nice and timely piece- as discussion continues about activity rates and other such things it can be insightful to consider what really matters- my stake has been having the denim and electronic devices wars- in a series of letters we have been told that wearing denim and sandals to church and using electronic devices is inappropriate along with a few other things- then the inevitable judging begins- Oh look they are wearing denim- oh look they have their iPad out- yet half the kids are not in church on any given Sunday, drugs are a problem, divorce, financial failure and on and on we go but we will judge over the type of cloth you are wearing (not length or fit just type)- seems like we miss the mark but that is just one persons opinion however it does seem more acute here along the Wasatch Front than anywhere I have been

Tucson, AZ

@morpunkt "high skirt lines" Not sure what you mean by that "standard" because I have never heard of it. Can you clarify? My understanding is that high skirt lines are not OK, they must be at least knee length (or a tad longer). BTW, the white shirt standard came about from Pres. David O. McKay. He's the one who "made it up."

Yes, I agree that the article would have served us better if there were some examples. That's why we have comments like that of "Brother Benjamin Franklin." You see, there are some points of doctrine that are mot malleable, like abortion and gay marriage. They are not malleable because they are, in fact, doctrine. We are considered to be "weird, thick, and closed-minded?" Well, how about God, then? He is not malleable with his doctrines such as "Thou shalt not murder," and "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

I hate to break this to you members along the Wasatch Front, but did you know that Jello doesn't have to be green? Jello, being highly malleable, can be any color you like. Yes, yes, I know...earth shattering. Sorry. :)

Tooele, UT

Re: "Is it possible that as science continues to expand our thinking - that even "Bedrock Principles" will change?"

Uh, no. That's what makes them bedrock principles.

Phoenix, AZ

Vague examples, and no real thought put into this article. Since there are so few 'concrete' doctrines does that mean we should expect homosexuals be allowed to proudly function in the church soon? Women to hold and officiate in priesthood offices such as bishop and elders quorum president is right around the corner? Maybe all we need to do is protest and we'll see the church 'change with the times' like everyone is saying. This article is way too misleading and suggestive. DN should screen these better. We don't need additional controversy.

Tooele, UT

Re: "I just wonder why the LDS Church has not been so malleable with regards to gay marriage, to abortion, and to other things."

Probably because of those pesky bedrock issues of decency, sin, obeying God, and esteeming His commandments above the blather of the short-sighted mockers in the "great and spacious building."



Coke. Decaffeinated Coffee. Length of Shorts. What is actually an "R" rated movie. Two Piece Bathing Suits. Missionary Farewells. Glen Beck. Being a member of the GOP. Being a law and order type vs being and ACLU type. Medical Marijuana (honest use - not an excuse). Jello. What constitutes a LDS Funeral (really you have to serve funeral potatoes?). Wearing a cross.

Turning down a calling. Viewing someone that smokes as a bad person (no matter how good they might otherwise be.) Not becoming an Eagle Scout equals failure. If you don't work on a farm. If you don't like to be called "Brother" or "Sister." Not being active in Ward Social Activities - even if you are spiritually active and attend all other meetings.

Being a church leaders is what counts - if you do not move up in callings you must not be as important.

White Shirts (seriously we ask people in other countries to change formal regional dress to wear our IBM based White Shirt and Ties and then judge them if they don't).

Part two coming...

Orem, UT

To Brother Benjamin Franklin:

"You say your standards are malleable and adjustable, yet you will not allow gays and lesbians any more privilege than to join in your services. That does not reflect well on your faith.

You say this, and yet the faith demands a strict compliance to following the commands of a president. They may be helpful requests that lead to better living, but that is not my point here. My point is they are not bendable."

You miss the point completely Bro. B. God's doctrinal laws have NEVER changed. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Gays and Lesbians can go to the temple if they act not on their preference...same as a single heterosexual has to practice restraint. God does not bend His commandments to fit your idea of right and wrong. He knows more than you, and that is why there are prophets...always have been. If the whole world became gay, how many children do you see down the road? The whole point of life/existence is to have children, gain experience, and return to live with God. You don't have to like our doctrine...do something else.

Washington, UT

And the point of this rambling is what? The implication here is that everything in the church, including its doctrine is in flux and subject to change. "regional standards?" where did that term come from? How about going a bit deeper and uncover why some members feel it's appropriate to disrespect the church, the temple, the holy places by the way they dress? and this would apply in west Africa as well as in Bountiful, Utah. It isn't about shoes, it's about modesty, and respecting sacred places.


Part Two...

Every nit picky idea that a talk, prayer or blessing must be given as it was seen on TV during general conference. Table clothes for any lesson taught by a woman.

Using the term "Great and Spacious Building" for everything that happens outside of Utah. In fact Utah itself. The idea by too many that big money equals spiritual success. A misunderstanding of the term forgiveness. The idea that we too often think that we are neither the adulterous woman at the well or the stone casters but just bystanders that are in agreement with Christ. Think again - we are both.

Bedrock Principles:

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Through him we are saved. His teaching of love, compassion and kindness are essential to being happy. Those thing which lead to Christ are of God. Those things which don't are not. And No those things which lead to Christ or away from him are NOT always the same for everyone.

And yes I am a California Mormon so I am guessing that since I don't actually live in "Zion" but in the "mission field" you can ignore my post.

Bountiful, UT

To the Scientist:

Only the President of the Church has authority to say what is doctrine and what is not. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve work together to clarify principles and doctrines, but only the President of the Church can say if thats righ or not.

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