In the Winter 2006 issue of Dialogue, Lavina Fielding Anderson has a short article on True to the Faith ("TTTF"), the doctrinal booklet published by the Church a couple of years ago. The contents of the booklet were subsequently posted online at LDS.org. She calls it "190 pages of what Mormons are supposed to believe, know, and do." I have described it as a long-delayed response to the notorious Mormon Doctrine. However described, it is a terribly useful little booklet, offering official comment on everything from Abuse, Addiction, and Adoption, to War, Welfare, and Zion.
Ironically, many Mormons don't even know the TTTF booklet exists! In a footnote to the article, Anderson notes that one of the article's reviewers had not even heard of the booklet. The reviewer subsequently learned that it had been delivered to bishoprics in her stake sometime previous, but had been forwarded to bishoprics "as a resource" with no further guidance regarding what it was or to whom it should be distributed. I wonder: Is this just bureaucratic bungling? Or are there some leaders who would prefer the booklet be quietly shelved? It just seems strange that Dialogue is where we find a description and account of TTTF, rather than the Ensign or a Conference talk. Or did I miss an article in the Ensign?
Anderson describes the booklet as authoritative, timeless, and Christ-focused. It is authoritative because it is official — published by the Church and introduced by an Introduction by the First Presidency announcing TTTF as "a resource when you prepare talks, teach classes, and answer questions about the Church." It is held out as timeless in that no author or source information is given. There are no footnotes, just liberal quotes from and citations to scriptures. Finally, it is Christ-focused both in topical coverage and in its determination to ground every doctrine or practice in Christ. For example, Anderson notes that "Modesty" is explained as attire that would make one feel comfortable in the Lord's presence; "Temples" links temple ordinances to the Atonement and explains that "All we do in the Church ... should point us to the Savior and the work we do in holy temples."
Here's a question: Are there any puzzled readers who haven't yet seen or heard about True to the Faith? For those who have, how did you first hear about it and get your copy? A copy was distributed to each of the youth in my stake here in California; when I saw what it was I snagged a copy for myself, but it was never formally announced to the general membership or distributed to adults.