This is an issue that has been doing the rounds in Mormon blogs and podcasts recently but I thought it would be interesting to discuss it here, following on from the theme of changes made in the Doctrine and Covenants I want to look at a case of very dramatic changes being made to a talk given at general conference in more recent years.
In 1984 Elder Poelmen of the quorum of the seventy gave a talk called the Gospel and the Church, the talk he originally gave is here.
And the Second part
To get the most out of this I would recommend watching these first but you will get the idea if not.
But anyway this talk was given by a member of the Quorum of the 70, one of the highest positions in the Mormon church you can get. This is a breath of fresh air to someone like me who struggles with the way the Mormon Church adds so much religion to what should be a simple relationship between humanity and Christ because he makes these excellent points.
- 1, Both the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ are true and divine. However, there is a distinction between them which is significant and it is very important that this distinction be understood.
- 2, Of equal importance is understanding the essential relationship between the gospel and the Church. Failure to distinguish between the two and to comprehend their proper relationship may lead to confusion and misplaced priorities with unrealistic and therefore failed expectations. This in turn may result in diminished benefits and blessings and, in extreme cases disaffections.
- 3, Sometimes traditions, customs, social practices and personal preferences of individual Church members may, through repeated or common usage be misconstrued as Church procedures or policies. Occasionally, such traditions, customs and practices may even be regarded by some as eternal gospel principles. Under such circumstances those who do not conform to these cultural standards may mistakenly be regarded as unorthodox or even unworthy. In fact the eternal principles of the gospel and the divinely inspired Church do accommodate a broad spectrum of individual uniqueness and cultural diversity.
These are great points, while I do not personally see the Church in the way Poelman does I can still respect that he sees a distinction between the church and the gospel. For me although I go to a church I would consider as true and teaching good things I still completely see my salvation and eternal destiny coming from Christ and His gospel not from the church.
However, clearly the higher ups in the Mormon Church did not see this talk this way, as if you go to LDS.org you will see a very different talk.
Try reading this along with the videos above and you will see it is the same talk but somehow different. What happened is sometime after Poelman gave this talk, he was marched back to the conference centre and gave the same talk to a video without the audience giving the same talk again but with some changes. This is now the official version of this talk the LDS church shows people, not the original.
This link has all of the changes marked: http://www.lds-mormon.com/poelman.shtml
So consider the points I made earlier, here is what they now say on the official LDS site.
- 1, Both the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ are true and divine, and there is an essential relationship between them that is significant and very important.
- 2, Understanding the proper relationship between the gospel and the Church will prevent confusion, misplaced priorities, and failed expectations and will lead to the realization of gospel goals through happy, fulfilling participation in the Church. Such understanding will avoid possible disaffection and will result in great personal blessings.
- 3, The eternal principles of the gospel implemented through the divinely inspired Church apply to a wide variety of individuals in diverse cultures.
So while Poelman originally said hey guys don’t get too caught up with the Church, the Church has said hey guys keep it coming, keep participating the Church is what you need.
This shows possibly one of the main issues why Christians do not accept the Mormon church as Christian, because it says faith in Christ is not enough, you must have the church. Jesus said follow me, I am the way the Truth and the Life.
So I would be interested to know if Mormon members feel this has changed today since 1984, has the church started to accept that the gospel and the church are not one and the same or are they one thing? And does it bother you that your church will change things said in a public setting to millions and not even explain why?
For further info and discussion please check out this link, this is where much of my info came from and does have believing Mormons involved with it.
Please leave a comment and say what you think.