Above is a video recently put together by Keith Walker From Evidence Ministries highlighting an issue that anyone who has dialogue with Mormons and to be fair anyone who is a Mormon will have likely faced.
This is hardly anything of substance within Mormonism is official belief, or official doctrine, for example the idea that God was once a man which has tons of quotes from Joseph Smith and Mormon leaders that followed, yet today it is emphasised so little that many Mormons hardly know about it and can often say they dont think thats Mormon belief, a major cause of this problem comes from a very recent Mormon “Prophet” Gordon B Hinckley. In an interview with Time Magazine on the subject heres what he said.
Question: “Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?“
Hinckley: “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.” – Interviewing Gordon B. Hinckley, Time Magazine, Aug 4, 1997
Hinckley was an expert at avoiding questions and painting the picture that Mormonism was not all that aware or connected to those past doctrine, as the Prophet of the church who had worked for the church all his life its hard to believe he would be unaware of these things.
So often today Missionaries and apologists when asked about the less comfortable teachings of Mormonism will often say I dont know about that, or its not official, despite the fact that in the earlier days of Mormonism these things were taught with pride. The idea that we can become gods and God was a man like us were all well taught things by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and beyond.
This also included some stranger doctrines like the idea that Adam from the garden of eden was actually God and that God was ultimately the one who commited that first sin, as well as this he taught that some sins were not covered by the blood of Christ and our own blood would have to be shed instead.
Today these are not at all believed but in a church that claims there is always one man on the earth who hears directly from God it suprising how much these guys have said that is not official and how little they say today. When has Thomas Monson said anything more than do a mission, pay into the welfare fund, serve the church! When has he said things that only someone with a direct link to God would say? And not just a rehash of what the church has been saying for years.
I think by far the most likely reason is the LDS church’s desperation to appear normal and Christian and they know becoming gods does not help this process. Hence recent media campains where they have said things like “Hi I am Dave, I do this job and that activity and….Im a Mormon”, many of the books and manuals that have the thincker teachings of Mormonism are no longer available through the LDS Church. The book Mormon Doctirne by Bruce Mckonkie mentioned in the video above stopped being sold by Deseret Books the official Mormon Bookstore in the last couple of years. That book has over the years caused many problems for the Mormon Church because of its clarity and honesty about Mormon Teachings, it has often been reffered to as just Mckonkies opinions, yet if you check the book you will find most or all things he says are referenced back to Mormon “Prophets”.
BYU (Brigham Young university) Professor Charles Harrel has recently brought out his book called This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology which from what I understand is a very honest look at the massive difference between the Mormon Doctrine of Joseph Smiths day and today, and inbetween, I havent read it yet but my copy is on order. There is a two part interview with him about the book on Mormon stories here http://mormonstories.org/?p=2414
So for Christians who have had the experience of Mormons saying they dont know or dont believe things you have read about, this is why, it does not neccesarily mean what you have read is wrong (though it still could be)
And Mormons please consider why the one true church on the face of the earth with the only person on the earth with a direct link to God still doesn’t clearly teach or know many things, such as will we have planets? Who is heavenly Mother? Was the Father once a sunful man on another planet (loads of views on that one) was Jesus born of a virgin? And the list goes on.