I have been searching the Internet for resources that might be useful in writing about doctrine, and I have run across three that might be interesing to others. I certainly find them interesting.
First, the resource that I am the most excited about finding is the The Mormon Studies Digital Library maintained by J. Michael Hunter, the Mormon Studies Librarian at BYU. It is a database of over ten thousand full-text articles, talks and other items available for free public access. The user interface is somewhat awkward, especially the advanced search feature; but much of the material, such as BYU Studies and Dialoge articles, would be difficult to access otherwise. It also gives searchable access to speeches given at BYU, and other material not available at the official Church website.
A second resource that I am excited about is The Mormon Studies Page, also at BYU. In fact, I discovered the Mormon Studies Digital Library here.
Finally, I was glad to find The Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History. This website could be used as a portal to accurate, truthful, respected and faith-promoting history. I am especially glad to find this resource because so much of the so-called New Mormon History is clearly “digging for dirt” history.
Unfortunately, the web surfing has deleted my focus on doctrine and prophecy as taught in the scriptures and the sermons of the latter-day prophets. As a result I have not done enough thinking about topics for this blog. All I have is a few loose ideas floating around in my head.
One of the things that I am interested in is the phenomenon of dissidents within the Church. Invariable there are a few among us that would like to change the doctrines to something they are more comfortable with. They find it hard to agree with the Presidents of the Church on matters such as evolution, socialism, the Constitution, war and peace, the Law of Chastity, the importance of confessing serious sins to the Bishop, Church history, the balance between grace and works, blacks and the priesthood, the relative importance of the Book of Mormon and the Bible, the actual historicity of the Book of Mormon, the literal fatherhood of God, conspiracies, the relative importance of the King James Version, the rapid growth of the Church, the omniscience of God, progression between the kingdoms of glory, the “follow the Brethren” doctrine, and a host of other issues where their opinion differs from our Church leaders.
When does a difference of opinion become apostasy? Just what is apostasy in our day? What is “official” Church doctrine? And is there a difference between official Church doctrine and true doctrine? Have our doctrines changed since the beginning of the Church? If so, has any true doctrine been overturned since the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young? In recent months I have been hearing something about a new orthodoxy or neo-orthdoxy. Is there such a thing?
Over the coming months I hope to use this blog to answer some of these questions to my own satisfaction, to work them out in my own mind.