A recent online spat I had with one of CARM’s worst (baptizedinchrist) got me thinking again about the “official” status of certain doctrinal points. I found this interesting quote from former president and prophet of the church Harold B. Lee:
President Harold B. Lee in a European area conference:
If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth.1
This is the position that I take on the issue as well. The ironic, and distressing, thing about this position however is that to my knowledge it can’t be substantiated by the standard works. In other words, my belief about official doctrine is that it includes only that included in the standard works. Unfortunately, the standard works are silent on the question!
It reminds me of the Protestant belief in the closed canon, when no such thing is taught by the canon! I may add to this post later as I gain new insights through studying the issue further. Your comments are encouraged!
1. The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24-26, 1973, with Reports and Discourses, 69.