2010 LDS Curriculum: Comparing the Words of Prophets & Apostles

I was born into a devout Mormon family where I learned to dedicate my life to following the words of my prophets and apostles. My fifth generation grandfather, John Patten, was the first member of my family to become Mormon. He converted his brother David W. Patten, who became one of the original twelve apostles under Joseph Smith. The year before I was born, my Dad was ordained as Stake President of the Missoula Montana Stake by Apostles Spencer W. Kimball and Mark E. Peterson. Over the next ten years one of the Apostles or a member of the Seventy would visit our home during each Stake Conference.

My earliest memory of an Apostle is of one who visited our home. This experience is what really taught me the folly of not trusting the words of the prophets. I had a loose tooth and the Apostle (I don’t remember who it was) offered to give me a dollar if I would let him pull it out. Even though He promised that my tooth was very loose and that he would be very gentle, I still didn’t believe him. To encourage my trust, he let me take the dollar until I was ready for him to pull it out. I remember holding that bill in my little hands all through Conference as I tried to muster up enough courage. But I just couldn’t do it. After Conference I had to give him back the dollar as we said goodbye. Then, the worst thing happened. On the way home from Church—my tooth was so loose it fell out! I was so upset that I hadn’t been able to trust him. My father used that experience as an opportunity to teach me the importance of always trusting in and following the words of the Apostles.

Looking back, I realize what a blessing it was to have believed in absolute adherence to the words of my prophets and apostles. Because I believed their words, I poured over the pages of LDS scripture and literature looking for help. Because of their words, I trusted that the only way to gain forgiveness was through my works. It was my complete failure at following their requirements for repentance that caused me to give up. If I had not failed over and over again for so many years, I would not have found the truth that their words are false. And, most importantly, I might never have opened my heart to the truth. I might never have heard that all my sins were forgiven through Christ’s shed blood. I might never have known the joy that I now live daily—serving my Lord Jesus out of gratitude for what He has done for me.

Amazingly, I once again believe in absolute adherence to the words of prophets and apostles. But this time my trust is placed in God’s prophets and apostles—not false ones. Because of all I have found, I desire to share my joy with others. Over the next few days I will be posting five or six new “Pages” which will follow along with various Lessons being taught in the 2010 LDS Curriculum. These pages will provide a few direct quotes from the Lessons as well as links to each Lesson on lds.org. The main purpose of these pages is to provide reference material for many of the Posts I will be writing.

One reason I want to provide quotes from official LDS literature is because I have spoken to many LDS members who don’t seem to know what their prophets and apostles teach. An article in the January Ensign about using the new Gospel Principles Manual in Relief Society and Priesthood gave me some understanding:

“Why the Change in Curriculum? Since we first began using Teachings, millions of people have joined the Church. Many of them have tender testimonies and, with relatively limited experience in the Church, will benefit greatly by a focus on the fundamentals of the gospel. In addition, all Church members will benefit by a return to the basics. A careful study of core doctrines as presented in the new and improved Gospel Principles manual will help members strengthen their understanding of the fundamental teachings of the gospel.”

Another reason for providing the Pages with official LDS quotes is that there are many non-members who don’t understand the teachings of the LDS gospel. Many non-members have LDS friends or family and are genuinely confused as to the differences between LDS and Christian beliefs. As a volunteer with Truth in Love Ministry I have spoken at numerous Christian Seminars across the country. When teaching Mormon doctrine to Christians, I believe it is important to use LDS literature to do so. It is the best way to understand official LDS beliefs. It is also the easiest way to show how the LDS Church uses a different dictionary for many of the words used by Christians.

My favorite reason for following along with the LDS curriculum is to help those who are leaving Mormonism. There are few things more thrilling than interacting with LDS members who have come to trust in free and full forgiveness through the blood of their Savior!! I have the joy of corresponding with LDS members who are at various stages of coming to know the truth. For these new babes in faith, it is so helpful to learn from someone who has already walked the path that they have just begun. Simple explanations showing the differences between Mormonism and Christianity help clear up unnecessary confusion.

But maybe the most important reason for providing “Pages” with the words of LDS apostles and prophets is found in scripture—we are told to “test” their words with God’s already revealed scripture. Even if an angel from heaven preaches a gospel that is different than what has already been taught, we must not believe him:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)

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10 Comments

  1. catzgalore said,

    February 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Becki, thank you for reaching into the LDS scriptures to reveal the truth.

  2. shematwater said,

    February 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    What truth is being revealed? The truth of God? The truth of LDS doctrine? Or is it the misguided truth of LDS doctrine that most non-members (especially Christian Non-members) have?

  3. catzgalore said,

    February 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I think that Becki’s intention is to show what LDS doctrine teaches and then contrast it with what the Bible teaches. I think she does it well. As outsiders, we don’t generally see the curriculum that is taught.

    As a Christian non-member, my experience with the LDS church has been mixed. I attended for awhile when I was in high school and while the kids were generally well mannered, they did not care about God. They told me to not worry about that and just come to their dances and have fun. I was seriously seeking the Lord, but didn’t want a church who only cared about dances and having fun. I realize that they did not represent all LDS.

    Later, I spoke with some missionaries who were giving lessons to my granny. She let them come quite often and get out their posters and do their lectures. I listened sometimes but it didn’t usually make much sense. They were quite frustrated when at the last lesson they asked if she wanted to be baptized she said “no”. She told me they were such nice young men she hated to turn them away.

    A good friend of mine is LDS. She told me it was a shame I was such a strong Christian because I would have made a good Mormon! She struggles a lot and is on antidepressants. She is not particularly happy and wonders if she is doing a good enough job with her children. I realize that she does not represent all LDS either.

    You say “misguided truth”… and yet Becki’s family has been LDS for generations. Don’t you think she might have a good picture of the LDS church? When I have read historical documents, they portray a different picture than what I have read on church sites. In your opinion the ones that have left are now telling lies. Why would they do that? I know enough to be incredulous that you can believe some of what your church has taught.

    I know you believe that there is more than one god and that men can become gods. That’s enough for me to call your god false. I wouldn’t have to know anything else! But I appreciate Becki being willing to do what she does.

  4. shematwater said,

    February 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    CATZ

    You misunderstand me. I do not think everyone who has left the church is telling lies. However, Becki shown LDS doctrine in a very accurate manner. she has given the very basics of it, and that is fine. However, she attempts to explain those things are far beyond the basics, making claims that are completely false. Is she lieing? No. In order to lie you must know the truth and then tell what is not true. I honestly do not think she really understands the truth.

    I have seen her cling to her understanding of a doctrine, even when shown multiple quotes and examples to prove her wrong. I have seen her deny any form of logical thought if it conflicted with what she believes the LDS church teaches.

    As a non-member I understand you desire to know and comprehend the doctrine of the LDS church, but you will never understand the truth of it if you rely on Becki, for she does not understand it.

  5. echoechoecho said,

    March 3, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Shem,

    Perhaps it is you that doesn’t understand LDS doctrine. The point I am trying to make is: LDS sources speak for themselves and the LDS has a huge responsibility before God to make sure their sources are clear and plain to everyone both inside and outside the church.
    So let the readers decide for themselves who doesn’t understand LDS doctrine. You never know….it could be YOU that doesn’t understand LDS doctrine so try listening up as well as bringing forth your own official LDS sources.

  6. shematwater said,

    March 5, 2010 at 11:08 am

    ECHO

    I am all for the sources speaking for themselve. However, I have not seen this done very often.

    What most people do is to take one source and interpret it according to their beliefs. A great example is the notion that God sinned simply because of the couplet “As man is God once was, as God is man may become.” This phrase does not mean that God sinned, but that he lived a mortal life. People have even tried to use the non-LDS doctrine that we are born in sin to justify the interpretation. This is the thing I am speaking agianst. The misinterpretation of the source that is obvious from the use of NON-LDS sources.

    The thing is that I do understand LDS doctrine, and every source that has been given I have easily explained its meaning. However, if half of them have the meaning given to them by those outside the church the contradiction would be so obvious that the LDS church could no hold itself together. I realize people like this, they want the contradiction. Which is why they interpret things int he way they do, but it does not make it the proper interpretation.

  7. echoechoecho said,

    March 5, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Shem, thank for the explanation. I look forward to seeing the LDS sources you post in the future. I also think that If we are going to obey God, I think we need to steer clear of judging people’s motives and assuming they “want the contradiction.” There are lots of people out there who get my beliefs wrong and I don’t assume they want to see a contradiction or want to misinterpret what I believe.

  8. shematwater said,

    March 6, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    ECHO

    I try not to judge. You may notice I make no reference to individuals.

    I make the statement concerning peoples motives because I have seen people who, even after being given multiple resources to prove them wrong concerning what they say about the LDS church, they simply end the conversation with a basic “All these sources have to be wrong because I am right” and then bring it all up again in another thread a few weeks later. This behavior does suggests that they want what they believe to be true, and so will simply dismiss any proof to the contrary.

    Again, I make to personal examples, simply the statement that I have seen this done.

  9. echoechoecho said,

    March 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    We can’t make an assumption that Becki doesn’t understand what the LDS Church teaches. The true reality “could be” that she understands it better than the rest of us and that it is us who in fact need a clearer understanding.

    If that is the case, we don’t want to be guilty before God of having closed ears and of sinning by wrongfully judging someone negatively.

    What this calls for is an open ear and a desire to understand and learn how she concludes what she concludes. That takes time. It’s important at the same time to continue to share your thoughts, understanding and resources.

    It should never be about proving someone wrong, but rather, it should be about helping someone to understand what you believe, however long it takes.

    And let us all remember to never judge people’s motives in a negative sense but only in the positive sense. We all continually need that reminder. I know I do.

  10. shematwater said,

    March 10, 2010 at 9:30 am

    ECHO

    I have never made the assumption that Becki was wrong. However, I have, and accurately too, made the statement that she was, because she has been. You can say that you can’t know all you want, but that is simply a dodge. You can know, by comparing what she says to what the LDS leaders have said. She has been wrong on several accounts, proven by comparing what she claims to what the Leaders have actually said.

    Now, if all you want is to learn what she believes concerning the LDS church that is fine. But this will not tell you what the LDS church teaches. My purpose is never to prove another wrong, but to show the true doctrine of the LDS religion. If in doing so I prove false ideas wrong all the better, but that is not the purpose.

    As to judging peoples motives in a “negetive” or “positive” sense, I find this silly. We can never really know what another person’s motives are, but we should never try and sugar coat them. We need to judge motives in their “pure” sense, regardless of whether this is negetive or positive.


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