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I guess I am puzzled. I have not seen a copy of it.

We baptized my oldest son on Thanksgiving in a ward six states away from our home and that's when I found out about it. The local bishop gave a copy of it to my son as part of his closing remarks at the baptism. I read the thing cover-to-cover and just loved it. Were it not for that good bishop I'd never know the document exists. We are now using it as a family home evening resource taking it chapter by chapter.

Here in suburban DC we have used it with youth and new converts. When it first came out we were encouraged that all members should get their own copy and use it. But that said, I don't think most members use it much.

But thanks for championing this for so long. It's a good idea to use in quorum lessons which I think we'll do.

I've seen one dusty copy of it on the shelves in the meetinghouse library. I've never heard it quoted or cited in a church meeting, and I've never seen it distributed.

I don't get it. Why should there be hoopla associated with it? I find it nothing more than a sort of alphabetical Gospel Principles that have been in the Church since 1978. Although I see what some here said they have done with it, what should it be used for if there was a purpose? To me all this talk is a "conspiracy theory out of a mole hill" about a source that isn't very significant or unique.

The letter from the First Presidency that accompanied the book said it is "designed to help youth, new converts and others increase in their understanding of basic gospel doctrines and principles."

It requested that bishops give copes to new converts and youth ages 14-18.

Dave, it is interesting, beause in another review I read, Lavina's article was noted as being very against the book and antagonistic.

Anyway, when the book came out, I recall a letter from the first presidency saying it was to be given to every youth and to new members. At the time, it was distributed as such here. However, since the book has to be ordered on ward budget funds and is not a "required book", I am aware that it may sometimes be under utilized. Personally, the day I heard about it, I was very excited and ordered multiple copies online. I wouldn't mind if it became an addendum to the Bible Dictionary in some future update to the LDS scriptures.

Hi, Dave -

Although it's not perfect, this booklet should be proffered as the official replacement for McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine". The LDS Church needs to repudiate the pernicious "doctrines" published in McConkie's book, and put McConkie's ubiquitous influence to rest once and for all.

I found out about it from the Sunstone Symposium a while back (summer 2005?). I wonder if it wasn't some high level authority's pet project, and they've since moved on to other responsibilities?

ECS:

I believe, in some circles, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism was proffered as an official replacement to Mormon Doctrine. It is, unfortunately not cost effective.

For TTTF to replace MD in popular mormon culture, it would need to touch on all that MD touches upon and have the same title, in my opinion. It would also need to be done by an apostle or higher in the church. I can not imagine anyone in the current 15 doing such.

That said, TTTF is an excellent book.

Maybe Elder Nelson...

Hi, Matt-

Yes, TTTF is far from comprehensive, and I do hope that someone takes up the cause and completes the project.

Given that McConkie's book is riddled with inaccuracies and personal opinion masquerading as doctrine - not to mention that almost every U.S. Mormon has a copy of it - however, I don't understand why the First Presidency hasn't officially repudiated it. Silence on a particular issue is much preferable to propogating the dangerous myths and "doctrines" of the McConkie book.

McConkie's _Mormon Doctrine_ isn't in *my* house. I won't have it, and I certainly don't want my children reading such adulterated stuff.

I knew about TTTF, I think our Bishop must have presented on it. I hadn't thought about pointing my children to it as a resource. Of course, I don't think my kids would study TTTF with scandalized fascination the way I studied MD in the 1970s.

I think Preach My Gospel sucked up all the attention people have to give new church manuals.

I've seen the online version, primarily because it was so discussed at various blogs. I have to confess I've never actually seen a printed copy.

To add though, I'm stuck in nursery so I don't get to see much "adult" materials in Church.

OK, I know this isn't exactly on topic, but I have been reading the bloggernacle blogs for almost a year now, and have read many comments about Mormon Doctrine similar to the ones in this thread. By that I mean sometimes accusatory and almost always negative comments. But I have yet to see anyone come right out and say what exactly is being objected to. I don't have any real opinion although I do own the book. I know I'm kinda dumb, but am I the only one who is so out of the loop on why it is considered to be such a problem?

C jones:

briefly, Mormon Doctrine takes an "official" position on Evolution, while the church does not. Mormon Doctrine takes, in some places, a certain position on skin color, ham, and cain, which is considered incorrect and outdated by many. Mormon Doctrine seems to promote a time period of 6000 years for the existance of the earth is some places. In the second coming article, Mormon Doctrine seems to say the world will end by 2030 or so, which is not doctrine.

I think one of the reasons MD hasn't been repudiated is that it is 85% ok, at least. I don't think repudiating it is a good idea. I think updating, correcting and expanding it are good ideas. I think many entries though, will need to be rewritten as "The is no official doctrine on this..."

As far as I know the only major offenders in Mormon Doctrine are McConkie's opinions on that "Mark of Cain" stuff in relation to African Americans and his labeling of the Roman Catholic Church as the "Great and Abominable Church" that Nephi spoke of (which he was later compelled to remove from later editions of the book).

Aside from that, I really don't know. Haven't read Mormon Doctrine yet. My dad is a staunch supporter of McConkie and has read all his books. He is of the opinion that the most important work written by McConkie is, in fact, NOT Mormon Doctrine, but is "A New Witness for the Articles of Faith." But everyone gets so superficially stuck on Mormon Doctrine, that the New Witness is pretty-much ignored. I'd be curious to know how many people have read "A New Witness." I received the book as a present last year, but still haven't read more than the first couple chapters.

I have a copy of TTTF. I keep it in my scripture bag. I received it from my bishop in a Wyoming ward. He was pretty adamant about everyone in leadership positions having a copy. I don't really know if he was pushing the book on everyone else in the ward. It is a very useful item when you want the short, sweet version of the Church's position on things without wading through much in-depth treatment.

In my ward, the TTTF is given to the kids when they turn 12 and move into the YM or YW programs. (Actually, I'm only assuming the boys get it; I do know the girls get it.)

"For those who have, how did you first hear about it and get your copy?"

I read about it in the Church News section of the Ensign a few months before it came out. As soon as I saw it in our Clerk's office I ordered a copy for each member of my family from the online bookstore.

I personally have a copy of the book TTTF and I am not very happy with it really. It has been so far in my opinion, not a good starting point for youth and new converts. Some of the doctrine in it is confusing when coupled with other similar books published by the church like-
"The Guide to the scriptures" which in my opinion is a far greater manual for understanding our doctrine.

The TTTF books were given out to all the youth a few years ago in my ward and several talks materialized from them. There is a lot of good material in the small booklet, but the small amount of confusion in it really is upsetting. Take "eternal life" for instance. Eternal life is equated with exaltation which is the highest degree within the celestial kingdom. The scriptures though speak of eternal life as coming to all the "saved" on the right hand and not just the married in heaven peoples. The emphasis extended further is that in order to obtain it one must be married and endure to the end. But then, the scriptures state that little children who die automatically have eternal life.

Another confusing doctrine is the word "salvation". In the last part where it talks of salvation, it again refers back to the word "exaltation" to mean salvation. Again, this is very confusing as salvation is merely the bridge that crosses the great gulf whereas exaltation is only made possible if one has salvation.

It seems like the emphasis and trend throughout the book is to use a type of scare tactic to get youth motivated about marriage so they can be "saved".

Another confusing doctrine is brought up in the part where it talks of the "kingdoms of glory". The doctrine is brought up that if we want to "continue eternally in family relationships" we must be exalted in the highest degree. Once again- tactics that have no scriptural support that forces a young mind to think- marriage or nothing!

Rob, normally I frown on comments that are longer than the original post, but darned if I didn't learn something from yours. I'd forgotten about that online Guide to the Scriptures at LDS.org. It is very handy, but there are a lot of present-day topics addressed in TTTF that aren't covered in the Guide to the Scriptures.

For example, in just "A" one finds topics like Abuse, Addiction, Adoption, and Alcohol, as well as church organization topics like Area Authority Seventy (a very recent innnovation). So TTTF might be loosely described as a "Guide to being a Mormon in the 21st century." I think it's a nice resource for youth and newer members particularly, but also for the rest of us.

TTTF is a nice resource book. Sorry for the long post BTW, eh eh.

Now if they could just get some terms figured out like "eternal life" it would be a great resource book!

Dave wonders: "It ... 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?"

The April 2004 issue of the Ensign announced True to the Faith in an article titled "New Guidebook Helps Explain Doctrine Behind Church Standards" (Apr. 2004, p. 79). The New Era magazine described it as "a collection of short statements on gospel doctrine and principles ... written specifically for teens, young single adults, and new members" (Sept. 2004, p. 41). Both of these articles contain "a description and account of TTTF." It was also used twice in the General Young Women Meeting of General Conference last spring (see Ensign, May 2006, pp. 106-108, footnotes 15 & 24). And the recent special issue of the Ensign for new members promotes it in three articles (Oct. 2006, pp. 27, 33, & 61.)

Thanks for the links, Gary. I'll have to take a look at that new member Ensign.

I think one of the most significant ramifications of TTtF will be from it's inclusion in the lean and mean Missionary study library.

Here is a link to PDF version of _True to the Faith_

An instructive cite from the entry on "Apostasy":

Although there will not be another general apostasy from the truth, we must each guard against personal apostasy. You can safeguard yourself against personal apostasy by keeping your covenants, obeying the commandments, following Church leaders, partaking of the sacrament, and constantly strengthening your testimony through daily scripture study, prayer, and service.

A nice handy reference booklet. I suggest that perhaps the text fails in some respects only because it is lacking the touch of a McConkie. It isn't likely to replace _Mormon Doctrine_ on my reference shelf.

Our bish bought copies TTTF for HTs to bring to all the less-actives, in case our blighted attendance was a result of ignorance of the way things really are. Used as a punative tool, I haven't quite come to a deep appreciation of it yet. Perhaps if it had only been accompanied by Elder Bednar's last conference talk . . . (I digress.)

My first impression was that it was a politically correct product of correlation, a watered-down glossary of Mormonese. However, your praises of it have inspired me to dust it off and give it a second chance. I'd disagree that it is a replacement for MD as MD and 'Answers to Gospel Questions' are more encyclopaedic, whereas TTTF seems more lexographic. Apples and oranges.

JAT, I'm not sure I ever called TTTF a "replacement" for Mormon Doctrine, since Mormon Doctrine was actually a sham: it was passed off and was accepted by many members as a semi-official statement of LDS doctrine when, in fact, it was merely a personal statement of the author. This is evident from the harsh (if not publicly aired) reaction of senior LDS leaders to the original publication of the book.

So TTTF provides an authentic and official (if brief) set of statements on topical and doctrinal issues. If Elder McConkie had worked through channels instead of grandstanding, something like this might have happened forty years sooner.

A follow-up comment to No. 30: I'm making the point that TTTF is the right way to put out an official set of statements on LDS doctrine, as opposed to Mormon Doctrine which was the wrong way to go about doing it. As to whether one agrees or disagrees with the content of TTTF at particular entries (or the content of Mormon Doctrine, for that matter), that's a different matter.

Awhile back, I commented on the content of some of the TTTF entries at some length in a series of posts at By Common Consent.

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