The LDS Church can be a pretty amazing and beautiful system for millions of its faithful adherents. And its uniquely promoted by both our core scriptures and leadership as an organization led by continuing revelation. This means, that as a ‘living church’, God has promised to advance our knowledge through inspiration to its leaders and members just as fast as we are ready to advance. In this section I have attempted to very generally outline and summarize a number of reformational ideas I’ve had by appealing our own scriptures and history offering solutions from our scriptures for some of the problems I’ve seen the church grapple with recently.
Really, reforms are the hallmark of The Gospel in every dispensation. Whether it be reforms from new found information as was the case when Josiah found lost scriptures in the ancient temple, or in the case of people like Ezra, Jonah, Alma, Samuel the Lamanite, Isaiah or John the Baptist who were called mid-dispensation to correct the presiding high priests of Israel. The entire history of the gospel and human history is one of divinity sending movements of new players onto the human stage to advance the progression and evolution of mankind. When the priesthood itself becomes blind of its own issues, God calls reformers from outside the priesthood to call us saints to repentance.
In my experience in the church over the past few decades I’ve seen a huge number of members who after learning about historical or doctrinal issues have left our church when they simply cannot reconcile the new truths with some of the problematic narratives we have constructed over the last hundred years.
Many of these issues seem to boil down to the following points.
- Historical and theological problems in our worldview.
- Overly-autocratic control maintained by virtue of the priesthood. (It’s often run more like China than like democratic nations, completely ignoring the ‘law of common voice’ given in the D&C)
- We’ve pushed a somewhat white-washed portrayal of our history. Especially revolving around Joseph’s fall into the sin of polygamy. (Something the church has been trying hard to address!)
- We often push unscriptural exclusive truth claims. (over-literalization of scripture)
- We occasionally push hurtful and harmful social practices.
See the Needed Reformation Section for articles detailing each of these issues and scriptures suggesting more correct views and practices…
You’ll note many of these reform actions are things which Evangelical Christianity currently does very well (despite their own needed reforms). I believe strongly that the reason Evangelical Christianity quickly rose to be one of the most powerful and largest Christian Movements in the world, from its Anabaptist roots of the same Second Great Awakening which gave Joseph Smith his calling — is because in a few important respects they did a better job of obeying and implementing certain principles revealed to Joseph Smith. (Principles given by the Spirit to all reformers of the Second Great Awakening).
It’s time that Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity stop fighting and have a baby.
I’ve actually seen Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity come far more into alignment in my lifetime. I believe we need to continue to combine the good from both of these movements. Evangelicals need to accept the Book of Mormon & coming Israeli prophets, continuing revelation & prophecy, biblical errancy, the importance restored temples and the cohesion and power of the higher priesthood. Mormons need to accept the Evangelical decentralization of church bodies, the wrongness of polygamy, the democratization of many church decision, the pre-eminence of grace over works and the focus on Jesus. Both need to live a system of financial consecration, reform Christian exceptionalism, eliminate cult-like behaviors, and follow the lead of the coming Jewish prophets (such as Jachanan Ben Kathryn) & Jewish temple restoration.
Video coming soon.