Line Upon Line

Ben posted a link to the following Ensign Article in the comments of a previous post, and I enjoyed it enough to dedicate an entire post to it. Here’s the link. It’s an Ensign Article from 1979 by James B. Allen (should I know who that is?) that discusses many doctrinal and policy changes within the LDS church since it’s creation in 1830.

Several things caught me off guard. First, some of the content itself was new to me. I had no idea multiple baptisms was ever a part of the church’s history. In the modern church, we would probably make fun of a church that performed multiple baptisms. I was surprised that Allen passed it off as a mere policy change, because it seems like there are some pretty serious doctrinal implications of performing multiple baptisms.

Second, it is nice to see a leader of the LDS church speaking openly about sensitive topics from the church’s history. Now-a-days, it seems like the church’s PR strategy is to not discuss such issues.

Third, it is interesting that this was distributed in the Ensign. Today’s Ensign seems to not discuss the difficult topics….But I suppose the whole point of his talk is that in his mind, these AREN’T difficult topics. They’re simple and easy to understand if placed in the right context. And I LOVE the idea that the church is constantly changing and morphing into something new, and that new policies are sure to come in the future.

In fact, I’m very grateful that the church has changed through the years. I don’t want anything to do with polygamy. I don’t want to serve a 4-year mission. I don’t want to live the law of consecration. And I don’t want to believe a lot of things taught by early prophets.

So some questions: Could something like this be published today? It seems completely out of character with the usual Ensign articles, but who knows? I have heard through the grapevine that the church has a pretty intense article about the Mountain Meadows Massacre coming up in the Ensign pretty soon (or maybe it’s already out). What’s the next policy to change? I don’t see the church creating any new policies that would move the church further from mainstream christianity. In fact, I would predict that any policies or revelations to come will only move the church to be more in harmony with mainstream christianity. Anyone got any policy changes you’d like to see? I’ve got a petty one: the church needs to stop prohibiting beards. Honestly, what’s the big deal? Bishops should be allowed to have beards. I’ve got a wish list with a few, more intense items as well, but I’ll keep them to myself for now.

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