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Thread: The Russell Nelson Era: Changes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  1. #61
    If any of you have read the biography of David O McKay the struggle between him and Ernest Wilkinson is pretty interesting in light of this discussion and realities of the church today. Wilkinson was about building BYU and like institutions all over. He wanted to create a gigantic educational conglomerate. McKay worried about the ongoing expense and feasibility of such a thing. It would appear McKay was right and fortunately Wilkinson didn't get his full wish.


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  2. #62
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    If any of you have read the biography of David O McKay the struggle between him and Ernest Wilkinson is pretty interesting in light of this discussion and realities of the church today. Wilkinson was about building BYU and like institutions all over. He wanted to create a gigantic educational conglomerate. McKay worried about the ongoing expense and feasibility of such a thing. It would appear McKay was right and fortunately Wilkinson didn't get his full wish.


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    Ernie was quite a force of nature. I interviewed him once for a political science paper. At that time he was "President Emeritus" of BYU. He had a very fiery personality, which he himself described as "tempestuous." Even when I quietly asked him polite questions, he sometimes shouted his answers. When he was BYU's president he was constantly competing with the U. If the U. put up a new building, BYU would put up a bigger one. For example, the Marriott Center was a direct response to the Huntsman Center (then the Special Events Center.) It was actually kind of funny to watch.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

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  3. #63
    Handsome Boy Graduate mpfunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalPat View Post
    Notable in its absence on LA's list: The Church's continued meddling in affairs of a social nature, and for a change, one overwhelmingly sought after by the people, namely medical marijuana. Some things will never change.

    Incorporating the Lord's demands into the name change was insulting to anyone with a brain. What, Jesus Christ can tell Nelson what his Church should be known as, but can't offer a clear path to medical marijuana that satisfies the desires of the people? What happened to agency? What happened to keeping the government out of people's affairs?
    You also forgot doubling down on discriminatory policies and teachings about the LBGTQ community.
    So I said to David Eckstein, "You promised me, Eckstein, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, there have only been one set of prints in the sand. Why, when I have needed you most, have you not been there for me?" David Eckstein replied, "Because my little legs had gotten tired, and you were carrying me." And I looked down and saw that I was still carrying David Eckstein.
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  4. #64
    Wilkinson really looks bad in our time on the blacks and the priesthood issue. In a biography on Lowell Bennion, Mary Lythgoe Bradford writes about a debate Bennion had with Wilkinson in Provo on the matter. I'm not remembering the substance of the debate but Bennion's peaceful opposition to the issue got him banished from head of the U Institute of Religion. Wilkinson, who had grabbed power over all institutes of religion while at BYU, didn't fire Bennion (I doubt Pres. McKay would have allowed that given his friendship with Bennion), he assigned him to Weber State. Bennion declined the offer, resigned and crossed the street onto the U campus to work for a young Neal A. Maxwell in student affairs for a few years before retiring and working at the food bank.

  5. #65
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    Wilkinson really looks bad in our time on the blacks and the priesthood issue. In a biography on Lowell Bennion, Mary Lythgoe Bradford writes about a debate Bennion had with Wilkinson in Provo on the matter. I'm not remembering the substance of the debate but Bennion's peaceful opposition to the issue got him banished from head of the U Institute of Religion. Wilkinson, who had grabbed power over all institutes of religion while at BYU, didn't fire Bennion (I doubt Pres. McKay would have allowed that given his friendship with Bennion), he assigned him to Weber State. Bennion declined the offer, resigned and crossed the street onto the U campus to work for a young Neal A. Maxwell in student affairs for a few years before retiring and working at the food bank.
    Bennion, my namesake, also founded the Utah Boys' Ranch, now known as West Ridge Academy.

    Ironically, not long afterwards Neal Maxwell became the first Church Commissioner of Education, right after Wilkinson retired. His top priority was to restructure the church education system. The president of BYU now reported to him, and BYU did not run the system anymore -- it was simply part of it. Still the "big dog" in the system, to be sure, but not running it.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  6. #66
    I didn't know that piece LA. I love that Maxwell made that move. Wilkinson was far too powerful from his BYU perch in the 60s. It was an interesting leadership style of Pres. McKay. He really allowed some interesting people to have a lot of bandwidth/influence - including Wilkinson and a young McConkie.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I didn't know that piece LA. I love that Maxwell made that move. Wilkinson was far too powerful from his BYU perch in the 60s. It was an interesting leadership style of Pres. McKay. He really allowed some interesting people to have a lot of bandwidth/influence - including Wilkinson and a young McConkie.
    And Mark Peterson

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I didn't know that piece LA. I love that Maxwell made that move. Wilkinson was far too powerful from his BYU perch in the 60s. It was an interesting leadership style of Pres. McKay. He really allowed some interesting people to have a lot of bandwidth/influence - including Wilkinson and a young McConkie.
    McConkie lobbied McKay for years to make his book "Mormon Doctrine" an official publication of the Church. McKay, however, had serious reservations about the book and had a group look at the book for inconsistencies with accepted Church doctrine and revelation. They concluded that their were too many opinions being given without doctrinal support and McKay did not grant McConkie his wish.

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by UTEopia View Post
    McConkie lobbied McKay for years to make his book "Mormon Doctrine" an official publication of the Church. McKay, however, had serious reservations about the book and had a group look at the book for inconsistencies with accepted Church doctrine and revelation. They concluded that their were too many opinions being given without doctrinal support and McKay did not grant McConkie his wish.
    And thank goodness. That book caused me more heartache as a missionary than any other source.


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  10. #70
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    And thank goodness. That book caused me more heartache as a missionary than any other source.


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    I've always thought the title -- Mormon Doctrine -- was pretty, um, audacious.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  11. #71
    Speaking of McConkie and Mormon Doctrine, there is a McConkie - I think a son or nephew of Bruce, who has co-written with his wife the book "Whom Say Ye That I Am." It is one of the finest books on Jesus I've read - just terrific insight into Jesus' time and teachings. The only miss is a chapter at the end where the McConkie's include a friends essay on the character of Jesus. I found it far too speculative. Other than that chapter it's a high recommend. If any of you are looking to supplement your New Testament reading - or just looking for great reading - order it.

  12. #72
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    Speaking of McConkie and Mormon Doctrine, there is a McConkie - I think a son or nephew of Bruce, who has co-written with his wife the book "Whom Say Ye That I Am." It is one of the finest books on Jesus I've read - just terrific insight into Jesus' time and teachings. The only miss is a chapter at the end where the McConkie's include a friends essay on the character of Jesus. I found it far too speculative. Other than that chapter it's a high recommend. If any of you are looking to supplement your New Testament reading - or just looking for great reading - order it.
    I’m going to pick it up and read it. Checking the reviews and the publisher’s summary, it looks a little like the authors want to make Jesus out to be a social justice warrior, kind of in the liberation theology mold. I don’t lean that way at all but I’ll still read the book and learn what I can. Is my hunch right?

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  13. #73
    Yes LA - along the lines of how your namesake views Jesus but it's more than that. I do lean that way as you know but I think I benefited more from the contextual/historical writing. It brought new understanding for me. As I mention above - the friend essay was almost silly compared to the rest of the book. Other than that, you'll benefit.

  14. #74
    Senior Member Scorcho's Avatar
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    With general conference just around the corner, there are rumors of more changes coming in April. These rumors lately are about changes to the Word of Wisdom. That makes sense to me. That revelation/inspiration is in need of an update. Apparently the rumor is the softening/removal of tea and coffee abstinence for temple worthiness among other things. Who knows if it’s true of not?

    I think I’ve mentioned before, but my MIL’s bishop ok’d her to be a temple worker about a decade ago, aware that she drank coffee regularly. She was a convert and had drank coffee her entire life. In retrospect it seems like such a minor thing to be worried about today.

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Scorcho View Post
    With general conference just around the corner, there are rumors of more changes coming in April. These rumors lately are about changes to the Word of Wisdom. That makes sense to me. That revelation/inspiration is in need of an update. Apparently the rumor is the softening/removal of tea and coffee abstinence for temple worthiness among other things. Who knows if it’s true of not?

    I think I’ve mentioned before, but my MIL’s bishop ok’d her to be a temple worker about a decade ago, aware that she drank coffee regularly. She was a convert and had drank coffee her entire life. In retrospect it seems like such a minor thing to be worried about today.
    That would be a gigantic change.

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    "Be a philosopher. A man can compromise to gain a point. It has become apparent that a man can, within limits, follow his inclinations within the arms of the Church if he does so discreetly." - The Walking Drum

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  16. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by Mormon Red Death View Post
    That would be a gigantic change.

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    I'd be surprised if it was exactly like that, if true. Basically all of these recent changes have been a simplification accompanied by what should be a deeper commitment.


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  17. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by Scorcho View Post
    With general conference just around the corner, there are rumors of more changes coming in April. These rumors lately are about changes to the Word of Wisdom. That makes sense to me. That revelation/inspiration is in need of an update. Apparently the rumor is the softening/removal of tea and coffee abstinence for temple worthiness among other things. Who knows if it’s true of not?

    I think I’ve mentioned before, but my MIL’s bishop ok’d her to be a temple worker about a decade ago, aware that she drank coffee regularly. She was a convert and had drank coffee her entire life. In retrospect it seems like such a minor thing to be worried about today.
    Boo! Keep Portland Mormons weird!!!

  18. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by Sullyute View Post
    Boo! Keep Portland Mormons weird!!!
    I could see the church going back to a more literal translation of the first few verses of Section 89. I think it will still be frowned on, just not a disqualifier for temple worthiness. We already don't enforce the "eat meat sparingly" as a qualifying principle.

    D&C 89 is worded such that not following these "principles with promise" (not commandment or constraint) probably shouldn't be a disqualifier.
    I saw a door that said exit only. So I entered through it and went up to the guy working there and said "I have good news. You have severely underestimated that door over there. By like a hundred percent." Demetri Marti

  19. #79
    I could also see more leniency with converts, that is, you can be a member in full fellowship and attend the temple if you were using those things prior to baptism and continue after, and we encourage you to cut back and/or move on as you progress.

  20. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by chrisrenrut View Post
    I could see the church going back to a more literal translation of the first few verses of Section 89. I think it will still be frowned on, just not a disqualifier for temple worthiness. We already don't enforce the "eat meat sparingly" as a qualifying principle.

    D&C 89 is worded such that not following these "principles with promise" (not commandment or constraint) probably shouldn't be a disqualifier.

    When did the Word of Wisdom become a disqualified for temple worthiness? Was it before or just after WWII?

  21. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by UTEopia View Post
    When did the Word of Wisdom become a disqualified for temple worthiness? Was it before or just after WWII?
    Heber J Grant - although at the time he did give leniency to older people who had been doing it for years.

  22. #82
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    Heber J Grant - although at the time he did give leniency to older people who had been doing it for years.
    My grandfather was of that era. Drank coffee all his life, served on general boards and was uber-active all his life.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  23. #83
    I'm hearing some additional missionary changes. I don't know if all of them will be addressed this conference or even in conference. There has been serious discussion on length of service, including giving missionaries and their families a menu to choose from similar to what they've done with service missions. I know that the church is going to move to missionaries serving in their own countries. I don't know if that will be announced or not but it's going to happen. That will take some time but it makes sense on all kinds of levels. One reason I was told that was a little surprising was a hope to change the inactivity number. For some time now 35% of missionaries become inactive. As the brethren have studied reasons for this they've found a correlation to foreign service missions - particularly missions with very difficult languages to learn and cultural adjustments. I think there are a few more changes to come but they'll probably be down the road a bit. Conversations are happening about mission president roles and giving more "boots on the ground" power to stake presidents.

    Anyway, that's a few.

  24. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I'm hearing some additional missionary changes. I don't know if all of them will be addressed this conference or even in conference. There has been serious discussion on length of service, including giving missionaries and their families a menu to choose from similar to what they've done with service missions. I know that the church is going to move to missionaries serving in their own countries. I don't know if that will be announced or not but it's going to happen. That will take some time but it makes sense on all kinds of levels. One reason I was told that was a little surprising was a hope to change the inactivity number. For some time now 35% of missionaries become inactive. As the brethren have studied reasons for this they've found a correlation to foreign service missions - particularly missions with very difficult languages to learn and cultural adjustments. I think there are a few more changes to come but they'll probably be down the road a bit. Conversations are happening about mission president roles and giving more "boots on the ground" power to stake presidents.

    Anyway, that's a few.
    I've heard this one too, and also heard it when I was serving a mission a couple of decades ago, in fact having a general authority tell us as much a couple of decades ago while I was on my mission a couple of decades back - I served stateside. A couple of reasons he cited were the ability to get people teaching quickly and effectively - at the time they estimated it took most missionaries about 18 months to be fully effective. He also cited an ongoing connection to the mission area they served, cultural barriers and expense.

    FWIW, in my ward we haven't had a single stateside missionary called in about three years which had made me wonder about what I was once told (as I used to think you could see that strategy).

    I wish that every mission would have a significant full-time strictly service component to it - meaning for 6 months or something you'd just help build wells or whatever. It would take some stigma away from young missionaries who can only serve service missions, I think.


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  25. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    As the brethren have studied reasons for this they've found a correlation to foreign service missions - particularly missions with very difficult languages to learn and cultural adjustments.
    It would be a shame. There are so many benefits to having a diversity of language and culture experiences within the Church. But the times, they are a changin.

  26. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    It would be a shame. There are so many benefits to having a diversity of language and culture experiences within the Church. But the times, they are a changin.
    I agree.


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  27. #87
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    I agree.
    So do I. I do think it's clear that they are trying not to send Americans to places where there is significant anti-American sentiment. That's probably true in every situation -- e.g., sending Russians to Ukraine and Georgia and vice-versa.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  28. #88
    I'm with you as well - my international experience was terrific for me; but I think of the financial cost and human cost of international service besides the worries about inactivity rates and I can see the reasoning. Perhaps it will be a mix in some regions but the person I've discussed this with was certain the church is headed this direction. He did say it would be over time and that some moves are already being made so perhaps it won't be announced.

    I love the comment above on incorporating more service into the mission. I was complaining to LA recently that my son is in a stateside mission and basically knocking doors every waking hour. Some service has crept into the mission with very reluctant acceptance from the mission president. It's seeped into the mission not from the president but from elders and sisters asking if they can do it. He's agreed by saying no more than 5 to 10 percent of their time can be service per week.

  29. #89
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I'm with you as well - my international experience was terrific for me; but I think of the financial cost and human cost of international service besides the worries about inactivity rates and I can see the reasoning. Perhaps it will be a mix in some regions but the person I've discussed this with was certain the church is headed this direction. He did say it would be over time and that some moves are already being made so perhaps it won't be announced.

    I love the comment above on incorporating more service into the mission. I was complaining to LA recently that my son is in a stateside mission and basically knocking doors every waking hour. Some service has crept into the mission with very reluctant acceptance from the mission president. It's seeped into the mission not from the president but from elders and sisters asking if they can do it. He's agreed by saying no more than 5 to 10 percent of their time can be service per week.
    Stories about my mission are old hat, but we had time each week to just do service in my mission. I've noticed the missionaries locally seem to have free latitude to do as much service as they see fit, and they seem to do a pretty significant amount. I did have a stint during my mission where I was able to just do straight service for about 6 weeks, and as a result we found more people to teach than at any other part of my mission. It was a great way to break down barriers and preconceived notions about us. It was also a time where we were doing some meaningful things for individuals and weren't irritating people by knocking on their door, and so my generally happiness was really high. It also started a pattern of service that is still pretty meaningful in my life today.

  30. #90
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    I'm with you as well - my international experience was terrific for me; but I think of the financial cost and human cost of international service besides the worries about inactivity rates and I can see the reasoning. Perhaps it will be a mix in some regions but the person I've discussed this with was certain the church is headed this direction. He did say it would be over time and that some moves are already being made so perhaps it won't be announced.

    I love the comment above on incorporating more service into the mission. I was complaining to LA recently that my son is in a stateside mission and basically knocking doors every waking hour. Some service has crept into the mission with very reluctant acceptance from the mission president. It's seeped into the mission not from the president but from elders and sisters asking if they can do it. He's agreed by saying no more than 5 to 10 percent of their time can be service per week.
    In our mission in L.A., which stretched from the San Fernando Valley to Bakersfield, the missionaries were doing service every week, even for active members. They have been finding lots of people to teach as a result, although that's not the reason for doing it. (Hey, it worked for Ammon.)

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

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