Reform Action #3 of 20 (see overview page)
Reform any unscriptural exclusive truth & priesthood claims. D&C 1:67–68 says clearly “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.” We need to take a hard look at the ways we might be ‘declaring more or less than this” in our teachings. Specifically we need to reframe three completely unscriptural teachings.
- The teaching that Mormonism is the only true church. (this teaching is directly contrary to scripture)
- The teaching that Mormonism’s priesthood is the only valid priesthood on earth. (also contrary to scripture)
- In general, we need to stop promoting false dichotomies in our truth claims (its all true or its all false). Do a better job at maintaining the multidimensional scriptural metaphors without imposing rigid church-wide interpretations for them.
Teachings #1, and #2 above are completely contrary to revealed scripture, as explained in the following articles..
Like good music, the scriptures are purposely written in metaphor so they can be interpreted differently depending on where an individual is in their life and ‘stages of faith’ progression. We need to stop “adding to or taking away” from those metaphors by creating such rigid institutionalized interpretations of those metaphors. For instance, the scriptures teach clearly that the temporal church and priesthood are a type, symbol, imitation or attempted copy of the ‘true and living church’ which exists in heaven (Alma 13:16, D&C 77:2, Matt 6:10, Heb 9:23–24, D&C 128:12–13, 52:14–see this article). A misinterpretation of D&C 1:30 and a handful of other scriptures have caused us to disregard (D&C 10:67–68, Moroni 7:16–17, Mark 9:38–40, etc.) which teach clearly that all who are repentant, moving toward Christ, do good & preach Christ are part of “His Church”. (see this article: Re-examining what LDS scriptures say about the ‘Only True Church’ doctrine for an in depth look at the scriptural and doctrinal evidence). Likewise D&C 86:8–10 (see also D&C 88:17–18, & Abr 1:4, 2:11) as well as a host of other scriptures show clearly that our traditional idea that the priesthood was “lost” during the great apostasy is not entirely true. (see this article for clarification or how Mormons are not the only one’s with valid priesthood and that the keys restored to us, deal with our particular mission only). Reform our teachings to properly portray the church’s role in working WITH the other members of Christ’s “spiritual church” to help to gather all our Christian brothers together in Christ (Eph. 1:10, D&C 27:13). Also reform our teachings on priesthood elitism to more fully align with the more humble approaches taught in D&C 121. Root out and put an end to the cult-like practices which result from these misunderstood doctrines (persecuting and deriding other Christian churches because of our traditional teachings that they are part of the Church of the devil, marginalizing, demonizing and shunning those who leave our communion because of our false teachings that leaving the LDS church means going to a lower heaven than those who stay, raising our leaders to god-like status and vilifying those who speak against them, etc..). See this video for details on many of our cult-like practices in need of addressing.
Stop promoting the false dichotomy of “either Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true… and thus its all true, or it’s all false” (see here for examples). All church’s and earthly organization’s believe and promote both truth and error. At least three other major religious founders claim to have seen God and/or Jesus within a decade from Joseph Smith; Siyyid Shírází (Founder of Bahá’í Faith; 8 million adherents), Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad (Aḥmadiyya Muslims; 20 million adherents), Hong Xiuquan (prophetic icon of Chinese millennialism). Just because Joseph was given a dispensation of restoration, does not mean God did not give other prophets and religious founders dispensation’s of their own. Having multiple prophets and priesthood lines on earth HAS BEEN THE RULE for the entire scriptural record. Our suggestion that in our day things are ‘different’ and now God suddenly has ONE priesthood line on earth is an unscriptural false tradition based on pride. All prophets are fallible and run the risk of introducing negatively oriented material and concepts into their revelations, practices and doctrine, all receive revelations as they are able and reveal heaven as they see it “through a glass darkly” (1 Cor 13:12).
The words of Christ to the Nephites might well apply to us, when he says “and they understood me not when I said other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and they too must I bring, that there will be one fold and one Sheppard”.