Joseph Fielding McConkie is the son of one of the most outspoken Mormon apostles of the twentieth century, Bruce R. McConkie. In 1985 he wrote a book with Robert Millet (same LDS scholar who wrote the Eerdman’s publication we have spoken of in the past) called Sustaining and Defending the Faith. The book remains in print. He is a professor at Brigham Young University.
Unless I am completely missing his point, it seems to me that McConkie is not walking the same path as Millet and Robinson these days. No, I don’t have any “inside contacts” up there, but I am referring to two talks McConkie gave less than two weeks ago, found here and here. I will be discussing these talks on the Dividing Line today, for I see in them the “New Mormon Dilemma.” I think McConkie sees something I have been seeing: Mormonism will splinter and die a thousand deaths if it gives up its distinctives: and, of course, it is those very distinctives that makes it a non-Christian religion. McConkie sees that compromise and trying to “look like everyone else” simply can’t work for a religion like Mormonism which was founded on principles and beliefs that simply cannot be twisted into an ecumenical pretzel and still function as they have in the past. Just a couple of representative quotes:
Do you realize that the notion that all churches are equal presupposes that the true church of Jesus Christ actually does not exist anywhere?”
If we are concerned about not offending the world, the first thing we ought to do is to reject the Book of Mormon. Can you imagine a book telling someone who believed in infant baptism that they are “in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity,” that they have neither “faith, hope, nor charity,” and that they ought to be cast down to hell for the very thought? (Mormon 8:14).
Perhaps we need to rethink the idea of seeking common ground with those we desire to teach. Every likeness we identify leaves them with one less reason to join the Church. When we cease to be different we cease to be.
I can respect McConkie. I can talk to a Mormon who believes he is right and I am wrong. It’s the Mormons who think their feelings say they are right but my feelings might say I am right and who really knows and we all have light and blah blah blah blah blah….those are the ones I struggle with. McConkie has a spine—a fully, documentably heretical one, but a spine nonetheless, and as I believe Walter Martin once said, paraphrasing, “I prefer my heretics straight up, thank you.” Indeed indeed.
So, that’s what we will start with on the DL…but you never know where we will end up when those little green lights start blinking on the phone bank. The DL is today at 6pm EST.