Bruce R McConkie

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Bruce R McConkie

Post by Rebel » 19 Mar 2018, 06:08

I joined the church originally in 1981 but have heard McConkie's name always brought up what's the deal with him why does everyone listen when they mention him other than he produced the book Mormon Doctrine . He seems a very hard core binary thinking guy I.e. church is either true or false . Can someone help me with this ? Thanks. Rebel.

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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by DarkJedi » 19 Mar 2018, 07:03

Ah, my favorite guy. I also joined the church in 1981, and quite frankly it was a different church then. It has changed for the better, but BRM was one of the main reasons it was what it was IMO. I think your assessment of very black and white, old school is spot on. There is also some history with Mormon Doctrine, which by the way, was mostly not doctrine. DOM was opposed to the publication, and it was the first book published by a GA that had to contain a disclaimer (which is standard now). There were also some significant changes between the first and second editions, but there was still plenty of what I call pseudo-doctrine and just plain not doctrine in there.

I live in the eastern US in a ward that has not completely shed itself of the 80s church yet - but we're getting darn close. I can honestly say over the last 4 years I have only heard McConkie quoted once and the guy giving that talk didn't seem to quote anyone later than about 1985. And along with The Miracle of Forgiveness, our copy of Mormon Doctrine found its way into the recycle bin. I think if you're hearing of McConkie currently it's from people stuck in a (fortunately) bygone era.

That said, I do think McConkie meant well and he generally was a good guy like our other GAs. I think that era (which I actually call the McConkie era) was replete with others, including even higher ranking GAs, who were doing the same things with pseudo-doctrine. I also think the current leadership eschews most of this pseudo-doctrine as we never hear about them in GC any more, and they certainly eschew racism, anti-semitism, and the idea that the Catholic Church is the "great and abominable." Of the current Q15 (13) only RMN and DHO served with McConkie, and they only for a short period while he was in declining health. I do recall McConkie's last GC address in which he delivered a powerful testimony of Christ, leading some to believe he had actually seen the Savior (which can only be inferred by the wording, he does not claim have seen Christ).
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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by Beefster » 19 Mar 2018, 07:47

I'm not a fan of the Bruce. My first real experience with him was on exchanges with the DL listening to talks by BRM in the car. They all rubbed me the wrong way. This was on my mission, when my thinking was a lot more black and white than it is now. Even then, I was okay with evolution and nonliteral interpretations of Adam and Eve and the flood. So when he outright called that heresy, I felt deeply uncomfortable. I said nothing in fear of the DL. He was a good guy- just a really black and white work > sleep kind of guy.

I will give BRM credit for the hymn "I believe in Christ." It's his best work by a long shot.
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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by dande48 » 19 Mar 2018, 08:15

Mormon Doctrine: The book which gave three pages to "The Atonement", yet five pages to the topic of "Evolution".

He was a very charismatic man. He was well versed in the scriptures, Church History, and obscure doctrine. He was an excellent writer, and had many profound theological insights. I really enjoyed his book "The Millennial messiah " when I was a deacon. He reminds me a lot of Jeffery R Holland, in many ways (although with my current beliefs, I like JRH better).

He is a very black and white thinker. Apostle Mark E Petersen said "Mormon Doctrine" was "full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation." President David O McKay asked him not to reprint it. Unlike President David O Mckay, Spenser recognized the profound popularity of the book could be used for better ends, and helped McConkie re-write it. In the first and second editions of Mormon Doctrine he stated that blacks would never receive the priesthood in this life (basing it largely off of Brigham Young, I think). When President Kimball announced blacks were to receive the priesthood, Mormon Doctrine was used as evidence against the Church's "consistent" doctrine. McConkie rebuked them, saying they should listen to the current prophet, rather than base their belief in his opinions. Mormon Doctrine was again modified to keep up with the doctrinal changes.

The reason I think it is so popular, is the Church is a very black and white Church. According to the Church, truth is eternal, and the doctrine never changes. With Bruce R McConckie's reputation as a doctrine and Church History expert, his authority as an apostle, and his eloquent writing style, Mormon Doctrine was (and to many still is) a concise, excellent resource for any religious topic. Unfortunately, the worth of an idea is too often judged by the eloquence used to explain it. Not to mention... Religion is all about providing certainty where there otherwise is none. Most people would rather embrace wrong answer, than admit they don't know.

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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by Roadrunner » 19 Mar 2018, 08:37

Elder McConkie seems to resonate well still with orthodox black and white thinkers. I told a woman (still in my ward) that Mormon Doctrine isn't in fact official LDS doctrine and she reported me to the bishop and called me an apostate and threatened to tell the stake president. I've heard it quoted in Sunday School lessons a few times a year, which is still very high when you compare it with any other book written by a GA. The title "Mormon Doctrine" implies doctrine and the fact that Elder McConkie was well spoken, persuasive, and confident probably means we will hear echoes for some time. As DJ says, I still hear people refer to his last testimony as an example of a true witness of the Savior.

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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by LookingHard » 19 Mar 2018, 10:45

I actually rode in an evevator and the church office building with BRM. I was 16 and we were on a YM summer trip we took to SLC. One of the leaders wanted to see his old MP and I somehow tagged along. I was trying (succesfully) to grow my first beard that summer and I had the scrappy start of it then. BRM walked in while I was already on the elevator, stopped, looked at me, looked me up and down for a second, seemed to show no emotion in his face, then turned around and never said anything to anybody in the elevator. I could "feel" he didn't think kindly of my apostate facial hair (I guess my eyebrows were OK, but the rest was not).

Growing up his confidence and sternness made me kind of fear him and think that God should be feared. At the start of my faith transition I started disliking him for this. After a few years now I can see him more as a very smart person who thought he was doing what he should. I can give him some slack on SOME things, but on others (publishing Mormon Doctrine even when the leaders "above" him told him not to, his dealings with Eugene England - which outs him as lying about some things in public speaches) he gets no pass from me.

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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by dande48 » 19 Mar 2018, 12:13

I found a further, and rather strong reference to Gospel Doctrine, which came from President David O McKay's Journal (7th Jan 1960).
President McKay asked a committee consisting of Elders Mark E. Petersen and Marion G. Romney to review the book. Elder Petersen reported finding 1067 difficulties, which "affected most of the 776 pages of the book," while Elder Romney listed 40 areas of concern, including the treatment of "evolution and evolutionists"
Those are two apostles, personally selected by the prophet, to review the unauthorized "Mormon Doctrine". And that's a lot of difficulties & concern. Reading further, apparently McKay has more problems with McConkie, than Nelson has with Uchtdorf! Also, McKay strongly believed in both organic evolution and an earth that was millions of years old, which is something most literal Mormons would declare heresy.

The Wikipedia article for Mormon Doctrine has some other interesting tidbits I'd like to look into more. It's interesting how opposed McKay was to it, even publicly stating that it should not be republished, even IF changes are made. Then, on his deathbed, McKay told McConkie IF he should republish it, it would not be a Church publication, and he would take full responsibility for it. So McConkie sent a memo to his publisher, saying McKay declared Mormon Doctrine SHOULD be reprinted.
Roadrunner wrote:
19 Mar 2018, 08:37
I told a woman (still in my ward) that Mormon Doctrine isn't in fact official LDS doctrine and she reported me to the bishop and called me an apostate and threatened to tell the stake president.
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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by SamBee » 19 Mar 2018, 14:54

McConkie wrote I believe in Christ which I think is one of the most moving LDS hymns. I have Mormon Doctrine at home (thanks Amazon!) which I bought out of curiosity. I don't agree with parts but he was at least trying to consolidate our theology into a digestible format.

He isn't well remembered around here.
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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by On Own Now » 19 Mar 2018, 16:13

BRM was the DFU of his day. His message was different, but he stood out from the crowd in the same way. In the same way that DFU's message resonates with some today, BRM's message resonated with some then. To me, they both exude(d) confidence in their message and that confidence was/is reassuring.
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Re: Bruce R McConkie

Post by Roy » 19 Mar 2018, 16:21

Here is another thread where we discussed BRM. Some good thoughts.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4092&hilit=mormon+d ... t+of+print

And this is what I went looking for. It is the thread were the church announced it would stop printing copies of Mormon Doctrine. That was almost 8 years ago.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1508&hilit=mormon+ ... t+of+print
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