Tag: doctrine

What is Mormon Doctrine?

What is Mormon Doctrine?

For decades I’ve been fascinated at the regular conflation of doctrine, policy, and practice among members. We tend to claim the policy of today as not just practical, meaningful, and inspired, but as doctrine. Until it changes and we forget all about it. One example that comes to mind is the “doctrine” from my childhood of only taking the sacrament (and only passing the sacrament tray) with the right (covenant-making, clean, dextro) hand and never with the left (unlucky, dirty, sinistro) hand. Somewhere between the church of my childhood and my 30s, this teaching disappeared from all teaching manuals, missionary discussions, and the gospel principles class. (My search was not exhaustive and I haven’t renewed that effort, but I could not find this teaching in any current materials at the time.) 

To LDS Seminary Teachers Everywhere

Seminary Teacher Problem

My husband and I are both graduates of LDS seminary. I, by the skin of my teeth after a lingering bout with mononucleosis and a pile of home study booklets. Sam, after being on seminary council and a master seminary bowler. So far our children have attended 18 total years of seminary instruction in two states, at church buildings and seven different released-time facilities, and with at least 37 different teachers. We have three daughters who are seminary graduates, one daughter who is a current enrollee, and two sons who will be joining the ranks in the next few years. I am a true seminary lover. By and large I have been thrilled with the instruction given. And that is no hyperbole. The teachers are dedicated, knowledgable, interesting, and have an inimitable ability to gain rapport with even the most bullheaded teenagers. (I know. I was one.) Yes, I’ve known non-paid, early morning seminary teachers who managed to go the entire year without any of the kids figuring out which work of scripture was being studied and paid full-time teachers who were more about style than substance, but our personal experience has been exceptionally good. So I’d like to preface my gripe letter with a long overdue thank you. Yes, sure, many seminary teachers get paid and, yes, I see some real inherent priestcraftyish problems with people making a living teaching the gospel. Yes, in essence, they are just doing…