The preaching of false doctrine in Mormonism has been much in the news lately, what with the disciplining of Kate Kelly and (possibly) John Dehlin. But that raises an issue, does it not? What exactly is true doctrine, what constitutes false doctrine, how can we tell them apart? And to what degree are our talks and thoughts and lessons and ideas the products of the larger culture that surrounds us, and to what degree are our thoughts genuinely inspired by God?
As I worked on my address for Sunstone last weekend, this idea, of the influence of culture on our theology, has been much on my mind. So, if you’ll forgive me, I thought I would cannibalize my talk over the next few days, and give, over time, a truncated version of it here. So here we go, with some really really obvious, undisputed, false doctrines that I have heard, either from the pulpit in General Conference, or in regular Church leaders, or in official materials published by the Church or by BYU. Call it a ‘catalogue of cra-cra’ if you will; I tried to go for the really obvious ones. Let me be clear, though; these are all doctrines that were once preached in our Church, but aren’t anymore. Because they’re not true:
The all time champeen: Black people can’t hold the priesthood because they were fence-sitters in the pre-existence.
No, it was because, unlike Adam, who was created by God and placed in the Garden of Eden, and whose children subsequently were all born with white skin, black people descended from monkeys, like Darwin said. So they aren’t entirely human.
No, actually, in the pre-existence, there were three degrees of glory, three rankings of pre-mortal spirits, just as there will be a telestial, terrestrial and celestial kingdom in the eternities. So celestial spirits were born into LDS families, and their test in this life is to prove that they (we) deserve to stay celestial. And terrestrial spirits were born into Gentile families, and most will just stay where they are eternally, but a few will embrace the gospel and move from terrestrial to celestial, and a few will make less good choices and end up telestial, but mostly they’ll stay where they are. And telestial spirits are born into black families, and its barely possible that some of them will work their way up to terrestrial, but that’ll be it for most of them, except for a very few who’ll work their way up to celestrial, by joining the Church and being blessed by other peoples’ priesthoods.
The missiles that hit Iraqi targets, programmed by a guy in my ward, were inspired missiles; he was led by the spirit to program them that way.
The Ten Tribes of Israel are hiding in a cave, a really really big cave, located under the North Pole. And one day, they’ll return, climb out of the cave, and they’ll have their scriptures with them, and guess what; they’ll compare them to our handbooks and manuals and, wow, perfectly correlated.
Masturbation leads to communism.
Space aliens are real. Of course they are. If ‘many worlds have I created and redeemed by my only begotten son,’ then it stands to reason that there would be aliens. And Earth would have to be a major tourist attraction. The only planet wicked enough to crucify our savior? They’d have to see that.
But Earth isn’t the only planet. The Garden of Eden was on another planet, and then transported all its people here. All the evidence for organic evolution (including dinosaurs) is real, it’s just irrelevant, because we humans came from a different planet.
Noah didn’t just have to find two of every kind of animal, he had to find the two most righteous of every kind, ‘cause, see, the animals were wicked too. So Noah had to find the two most righteous tigers and crocodiles and squirrels. The ones not stealing acorns, presumably.
If you’re a really really good missionary, you’ll be blessed with a super-hot wife.
When we die, we’ll go back to our pre-earth offices, and the in-box will be full. (I can’t imagine a more depressing vision for the after-life).
Cain still lives. He’s Bigfoot.
American Indians who join the Church end up with lighter colored skin than their non-LDS-but-still-Lamanite relatives.
People born when I was born, say around 1956, were a special generation, saved for these the latter-days. We’re meant to prepare the way for the second coming. We’re Saturday’s Warriors, we children coming down, coming down like gentle rain through darkened skies. With glory trailing from our feet as we go . . .
Except maybe not, because my kids, born in the 80s, were told exactly the same thing about their generation. So I think my generation probably blew it.
San Francisco is ripe for destruction, like Sodom was, because of all the gay people who live there. San Francisco is only being spared because of all the righteous Latter-day Saints who live there. But not for much longer.
San Francisco and New York.
San Francisco and New York and Los Angeles (Hollywood).
And we’re getting pretty worried about Salt Lake City.
But reparative therapy, involving large amounts of basketball and also electro-shocks administered while watching gay porn, will help, if you suffer from same-sex attraction.
God wants you to turn in your roommates, BYU students. If your roommate is doing something he or she isn’t supposed to be doing, the sin will be on your head.
Playing cards inevitably leads to much more serious sins. Like coffee drinking. And tobacco chewing. And even, maybe, s-e-x.
Polygamy is, let’s face it, an eternal principle.
Polygamy is necessary because, let’s face it, women are naturally more righteous than men.
No, polygamy is necessary because a lot more men than women died in the war in heaven.
No, polygamy is necessary because a lot more men were unrighteous in the pre-existence, because women are inherently more righteous than men.
President Obama is the anti-Christ, here specifically to destroy America.
And Kate Kelly is off the res?
Here’s my final point, though: we’re all human beings, and therefore, to some extent, crazy. The cultures we live in tend to be tribal and tend to be suspicious of outsiders, the other. The gospel exists to help us all overcome cultural biases, embrace the genuine brotherhood/sisterhood of all of mankind. I undoubtedly hold to prejudices ever nuttier than some of these. So let’s move forward, embracing the all-inclusive love and forgiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.