Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clarifying Strict Doctrine vs. The Purpose Of ...

Too often members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think in narrow terms.
For example, doctrine is strictly correct or it isn't. Right?
May be not!
Take the accompanying photograph of what appears to be the most popular, official LDS Church drawing for the early 21st Century.
Drawn by a world-renowned artist, who also happened to be a Seventh-Day Adventist, this drawing is now a key fixture in many LDS Temples, like Bountiful. Church leaders comissioned the painting and apparently lengthened Christ's hair in it, as well as down-played  angel wings.
However, this drawing is still strictly NOT doctrinally correct. Is that a problem?
 In recent years, I'm realizing that correct relates to purpose in the church and church leaders seem to think this painting can so evoke the spirit of the Lord, that the fact that it isn't absolutely doctrinally correct doesn't matter in that context.
D&C 133:48 clearly states that Christ's apparel will be red in color at his Second Coming. Several Biblical scriptures, like Isaiah 63:2 concur.



So, an image can not be fully doctrinal correct and still promote the spirit? Yes. (However, I still chose to color Christ in red in the above drawing that's in my house.)
And, this is only the tip of the iceberg of such purpose vs. doctrinal corrrectness in the church.
For example, the creative days in the church's Endowment temple ceremony do NOT correspond to any of the Standard Works. So, is the Temple Ceremony wrong? No, again it relates to the purpose of.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said back in the mid-1970s that if members go to the temple often and study and are worthy, they will understand why the temple's creative day sequence is different.
Also, the Book of Mormon is said to be the most correct book on the earth. (not said to be perfect, though). So, why are some of the incorrectly translated verses of Isaiah in the Old Testament still repeated in the Book of Mormon, though some were corrected by Joseph Smith in his "Inspired Version" of the Bible?
Again, I believe it has to do with purpose. The Book of Mormon is correct for its purpose, to be a familiar voice like the Bible -- a solid missionary tool -- but not so different it turns away investigators to the Gospel.
Confused?
"Correct" doctrine  simply isn't always black and white, at least in a telestial world.
As long as a church member lives worthy, studies and keeps the spirit, these inconsistencies in doctrine won't be stumbling blocks, but will be harmonious, though probably not to the outside world itself.

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