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I was trying to figure out if the concern centered around the idea of labels (sort of a “no manner of ‘ites" thing) or if the concern was over a discomfort that some members would feel comfortable considering themselves to be anything other than fully orthodox? I could see both being worries...but I'm just guessing.

My only response to you is (and I'm sure you know this).....there are lots and lots of LDS folks who went to church last Sunday, but who don't necessarily believe in God, or in a historical Jesus or in a historical Book of Mormon. Many of them are there mostly for social or cultural reasons (family, identity, etc.). I'm not sure they would qualify as orthodox....by any stretch of the word. Right?

Maybe it's just a useless/meaningless word. Kinda like "Psychotic" has become in the mental health profession.

Orthodox drinks Caffeine free soda, unorthodox points out that there is not "Official" ban on Caffeine soda.

Orthodox preach creationism, unorthodox points out that there is not "Official" teaching on the method of creation.

Orthodox cling to Mormon Doctrine and unorthodox point out there is not such thing

Thanks for the comment, John. But we already have a label for someone who doesn't believe in God: atheist. And the response is: Okay, you're an atheist, but you can still attend church if you behave yourself. Nobody labels you "unorthodox" because you have lost faith or belief in God.

The label "unorthodox" in other Christian denominations is someone who holds strong beliefs that deviate from defined orthodox beliefs. But Mormonism specifically disfavors creeds. No creeds, no defined orthodoxy. Or, alternatively, if the term "orthodoxy" is adopted in LDS discourse, those using it need to define in detail how they are using the term.

OK...how about "doesn't believe in an anthropomorphic God"....to be more precise.

I wear Tevas to church. Am I orthodox or unorthodox?

According to Tah (#2) it looks like an orthodox Mormon is someone who thinks they have the answers and an unorthodox Mormon is someone who says "maybe, maybe not" a lot.

John, I agree that both the worry about "ites" and the worry about being comfortable with the label orthodox could both be concerns for leadership. Personally I am more concerned about the "ites" problem. I mentioned on NCT my view that an orthodox Mormon is one who takes on the name of Christ. That being said, a true orthodox Mormon would not marginalize atheists or those who don't believe in the divine Jesus or Book of Mormon. Those are difficult things to deal with and it can be very lonely. A true orthodox Mormon would show the pure love of Christ. Come to think of it, maybe a true orthodox Mormon wouldn't care to label people unorthodox.


Depends on the color of socks you where with them.

socks? Who wears socks with Tevas!!!

I think people need to start understanding that even though the prophet is not a perfect man, the Lord will never let His Church be led astray. The Prophet (who ever that may be at the time) will lead the Church in a way that the Lord approves of, or the Lord will remove him.

Y'all's take on the tale was so different from mine, it's weird. I definitely read the story told as describing a problem with so-called orthodox people, that is, a variation on the frequent over-the-pulpit admonition in Relief Society General meetings about quit harping at each other, Sisters. We set ourselves up as judges, and everyone else (but ourselves) is a cafeteria Mormon who picks and chooses what to believe (which, obviously, is different from what oneself believes and holds dear).

Here's the orthodox-unorthodox question wrestling in my mind, thanks to a conversation I had yesterday: Which is the orthodox position, to encourage girls to get married at 18 or 19, or to encourage women to grow up a little first (maybe even serve a mission) before getting married? After chatting that I had gone wedding-gift shopping because one of my son's friends is getting married, I found myself trying to explain to my boss (a district court judge) that Mormon young marriage is not a matter of doctrine but rather a cultural artifact. Then I actually wondered to myself if my viewpoint was orthodox or not.

Ok, let me try that again. I tend to think of myself as a rather unorthodox member, because I am at my heart and soul different from the Molly-Mormon stereotype that turns me off.

Could it be that the self-identifying unorthodox people are just trying to say "I don't fit some stereotype" ?

Believe me, it is the image of orthodoxy that needs revamping, not the other way around.

Who wears socks with Tevas!!!

You do Dan. At church. Remember? Socks and Tevas and plaid shorts. I'm guessing you go with black so you are orthodox. If you went with argyle you would be unorthodox.

(PS -- The more important question is who wears Tevas in this decade? Didn't they go out of style in like 1998?)

Dave, the men are just more orthodox over here in S.E. Idaho than you over there in Wyoming.

And Utah . . . well, they might slip, too.

The last stronghold or central headquarters might end up being established in S.E. Idaho during the final days.

Doesn't this sound like a good novel?

um, I actually don't wear socks with my Tevas, even at church. :)

And no, Tevas will never go out of style. They're too comfortable.

Todd, I have no doubt that Mormon orthodoxy is hitting on all cylinders in S.E. Idaho. But I'm still not sure how "Mormon orthodoxy" should be defined. Perhaps adding Boise State to the list of approved football teams would at least loosen things up a bit.

Coffinberry, thanks for the comments. I'm sure if it came up, your judge would start by asking for a document or statement the Mormons use to define orthodox doctrine. Only when told that we just sort of make it up as we go along would he or she be confused.

I think it would be very helpful if, at the next General Conference, a GA addressed the orthodox/not-so-orthodox issue and explained just what their thinking is. Hopefully, the general message to all will be that being not-so-orthodox isn't so bad as long as you attend church and give service via callings and good deeds.

My 2 cents:

Fortunately, there is mostly common ground between orthodox and nonorthodox. I would call a belief in God, Christ, etc. common beliefs. I would call a testimony of truth in the BofM common. I would call service to others, loving fellowman, etc. all common.

I think the biggest difference is in the approach to things that are more peripheral and have absolutely nothing to do with the core of the eternal gospel. Examples:
- White shirts
- Facial hair
- Tattoos / earrings
- What you actually use for sacrament
- What hand you use for sacrament
- Coke
- Wine (yes, Christ drank wine. So did Joseph Smith - it's NOT an eternal principle)
- The length of garments
- Hairstyles
- Wearing socks to Church
- Whether a few words in Genesis were meant as a scientific text
- Calling the General YM leader "President xxx", calling the General YW leader "Sister xxx"

Orthodox people seem to get really bent out of shape with there peripheral things. Non-orthodox people care much less about them.

I would ditto Mike S and add myself to the list but Pepsi not coke unless it is the true drink, cherry coke.

Mike S, I notice you are recycling comments between here and the NCT post — sort of like re-gifting for bloggers. Since there is an additional phrase added to the NCT comment, I'll assume the one here is the original comment. Although I do like the selection bias point you added at NCT ...


I consider myself more orthodox than "un." I don't question statements, behavior of the Prophet; I am not critical of his counsel or that of the GAs. I tend to play it safe and not stray too far the letter of the law, so to speak. I'm more conservative in my religious beliefs than some bloggers on the 'Nacle.

Perhaps I am this way, because I live in Georgia, far away from Utah, Idaho, California, and the 'main stream' Mormon culture. I'm less exposed. I'd offer "Unorthodox" (and I hope to say this without seeming judgemental) seems to me to be more questioning of counsel given, less forgiving of controversial doctrinal subjects, etc.

The longer I have been in the church the more I am convinced there is no such thing as an unorthodox Mormon.


Interestingly, from the example at NTC, it actually appears that what the leadership (at least in that example) was concerned about was members who set themselves up as orthodox around some particular principle. In the NTC example, it was the type of sacrament bread. The woman defined herself as orthodox based on her bread preferences and implied she couldn't take the sacrament because it was unorthodox.

Perhaps the general leadership's concern, if there really is an expressed campaign afoot on this point, is that members are starting to define themselves as orthodox based on certain things, in many cases perhaps based on political preferences, and then shunning all those who do not share their same political beliefs as unorthodox?

Molly, I think it works both ways -- Latter-day Saints outside the Mormon Corridor sometimes escape the cultural features that sometimes get weaved into the Intermountain gospel. But sometimes that also means being looser about doctrinal essentials as well.

John, that does seem to be what the anecdote is getting at, but that was the local leader's story, not a story that come down the chain. I think it would be nice to hear what sort of illustrative stories the senior leaders would tell.

Part of the problem is the somewhat arbitrary mix of strict and loose when it comes to how principles or rules are applied. "White bread, brown bread, store-bought or home-baked, it's all the same to the Lord" works for the bread. "White shirt, blue shirt, tie or no tie, socks or no socks," doesn't work for dress. Be picky about white shirts and you're in harmony with the Brethren. Be picky about white bread and the stake president rolls his eyes. It's just hard for some to discern these unwritten rules.

I think, from the context from my Bishop, most of the concern is around "Us vs. Them" mentality when we are supposed to be "One Body in Christ". In a way, I think this hearkens back to your cafeteria Mormonism post where you noted we all are in that bucket..

Dave, most definitely. On Tuesday night, our family cheered in full cylinder action, delighting in BSU taking down Texas Christian.

To be orthodox in our family, you have to love BSU. It is Bronco Nation all the way. Secondly, my wife still wears both socks and Tevas to church. Of course, she really delights in dressing unorthodox.

If the Church Leadership is asking that we not be demarcating ourselves, or others, as either orthodox or unorthodox, then possibly this post completely missed that point? No?
I think the Brethren were warning us to not be making that call.
(And if you are anyway in spite of the counsel, are you orthodox or unorthodox?)

Given what Joseph Smith had to say about creeds and "orthodoxy," I'd say that anyone who calls themselves an "Orthodox Mormon" is, by definition, Unorthodox. Mormonism, the religion founded by Joseph Smith, promotes far too expansive a viewpoint for "orthodox Mormon" to make sense at all.

I think, from the context from my Bishop, most of the concern is around "Us vs. Them" mentality when we are supposed to be "One Body in Christ".

Well, if LDS leaders are concerned about this, then surely the best way to unite the "body of Christ" is to have the president of the LDS church actively promote a controversial political position, so the "orthodox" can declare that anyone who disagrees with him is "not an active member," and should be excommunicated!

An orthodox mormon feels compelled to divide people into two groups (orthodox and unorthodox). Unorthodox mormons on the other hand leave judgement to God.

Unorthodoxy is when the well-meaning member goes up on Fast Sunday and talks triumphantly about her views about her realization of being a Lamanite and having an experience with her Heavenly Mother, among other things, and then the Bishop -- nearly every month -- asks her to sit down.

Although I think Mormonism is more expansive than certain other denominations, I don't think it is creedless and I think when we say it is creedless, we are being coy. Mormons are creedless in a big C Creed sense (because we don't ascribe to certain historical creeds).

But I don't think it is the case that Mormons are creedless in a small C sense that we have a statement of beliefs, particularly when some of the most common statements of this belief takes the credo "I believe" format! (Of course, someone will probably say that the Articles of Faith aren't authoritative or doctrinal.)

I think that there can be immense disagreement on what it actually is that Mormons officially believe, but that at some point, there is a point when people start to think, "Ok, that seems a bit...nonstandard." At some point in the nonstandardness, there are institutionally adverse effects (e.g., if you don't "believe" some level of things, then you aren't temple worthy. You might not even be eligible for baptism. You might be up for disciplinary action. At the very least, if you give a particular kind of testimony, the Bishop might give you a gentle nudge as a hint that you should probably step down.) I don't think it really serves well to argue that there isn't a point at all when these things happen, because I think that simply goes against the experiences of people...rather, I think instead we are quibbling on where the line is, how fuzzy it is, how much margin of "deviation" there is, and so on. This may be up for grabs.

Sadly, the more interaction I have with Church members, the more I think that an unorthodox Mormon is one who lives his religion to an extent greater than that required to obtain a temple recommend.

No one really cares and no ever helps.

If we're to take "orthodox" and "unorthodox" in the light of "conventional" and "unconventional", anyway.

Having moved to Utah from another state, I sometimes am made to feel "unorthodox". The politics among members here is far to the right, and since church owned media KSL and the Deseret News openly cater to that group, members feel comanded to follow blindly. I'm sorry, but my religious and personal beliefs do not include the worship of Glen Beck. Get a clue people and start thinking for yourselfs.

Apparently LDS Church News thinks there is such a thing as Mormon orthodoxy


Can someone please help me understand what "pure Mormon doctrine" is.

sorry let me hotlink that

stupid Movable Type blog software.

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