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I have heard many assert that the Correlation Program was implemented to control what the members were learning (thereby limiting exposure to the controversy of the early church and its leaders). Is this assertion true? Did the Church implement Correlation in order to control what was being taught? If so, are things better off with members and teachers having less freedom in what they learn and teach each Sunday?

On another note, perhaps the Correlation Program was implemented as a necessity measure in preparing for the growth of the church. As a church grows (one only need look as far as Paul, Peter and other leaders in the original church), it becomes more difficult to overcome the potential apostasy that emerges though misunderstanding of past teaching and practises and the introduction of new ideas from converts. Correlation could have been conceivably introduced to help regulate what is taught and reduce the chances of apostasy. If this was why it was implemented, has it been effective? Are there less people apostatising from the Church than there would have been without Correlation?

Can the Correlation Programme have been introduced for both reasons? Or other reasons altogether?

15 thoughts on “Correlation

  1. If the goal was to provide hegemony to the church, I’d say it fell short.

    I have yet to meet three mormons who can agree on dogma, or interpretation of the teachings of the church. Not to mention the many stories I get of ‘way out there’ types who are practicing some sort of pseudo-mormon lifestyle, but claiming it’s by the book with Smith et al.

    The very fact that every mormon has their own spin on their dogma is one of the differentiating aspects of the LDS faith.

    I’m not clear on the history of the Correlation Program, nor its’ original intent, but if the job was to get everyone to sing from the same song book – I’ve got news for ya, there’s still lots of ad-libbing going on …

  2. I’d love to meet the members where you live Rick. To tell you the truth, while there are some hot button issues, most core LDS doctrine has been consistently agreed upon by all of the members I’ve known. Then again, I live very far from Utah and our numbers are small. Maybe it’s a survival thing out here?

  3. I guess it depends on how you define ‘core’…

    The cola debate?
    Temple attendence?
    The word of wisdom in general?

    These are some pretty core values that I’ve heard vastly differing views on, just to name a few.

  4. Rick,

    Yeah, I can see your list being argued by members. The only one I’ve been privied to back east though is the cola debate. That could be because I’m a raving Diet Coke addict though.

    One of the reasons I love the church though, is that the trivial details are left to personal pondering and decision.

  5. If only they were viewed as trivial…

    In my town if you’re drinking too much coke, you might as well be killing babies for it. =)

  6. I liked it much better when members were allowed to ask questions they had regarding the gospel. Right or wrong at least you could ask. Super simple answers do not solve lifes questions.

  7. Aw c’mon Rick. We all drank coke there all the time growing up and nobody cared. Things must have changed a lot since I was there.

    Anyhow, I guess it does depend on how you define “core” values or doctrine. As far as I know a little research in scriptures or the prophets wording should settle the issue on such things as tithing, cola drinking etc. Of course there will always be various interpretations due to various personalities or misunderstandings. There are some core concepts that have always been universal in my lifelong observations in the church. The basic teachings of Christian ethics as well as the basic teachings regarding salvation. What get’s catagorized as a “sin” seems to be where there is a lot of division. But once again I think a little honest research would settle most issues. Like John implied, people are left to use their minds and figure out a few things on their own. If everyone really cared about their accountability regarding their opinions and took an honest look at the supporting doctinal evidence, there would probably be a lot more continuity. But free will seems to prevent this ideal.

  8. Oh, things have changed indeed.
    Besides, your family was/is fairly liberal compared to many in town anyway.

    Think more like Cardston, now.

  9. I remember a time when you could not have a Temple Recommend if you drank a cola drink. It went on for many years and was pretty wide spread. Dr. Pepper was not a cola so it was ok to drink. Cola was not available at BYU for years.

    Now you can drink a cola drink and have a Temple Recommend. Times change and so does doctrine.

  10. Bill, there has never, ever been a time when the doctrine of the Church said you couldn’t hold a temple recommend if you drank colas.

    But I do continue to admire the creativity of your memory.

  11. ltbugaf is right (wow I agree with him again!)

    there have been individuals who have perpetuated it, but it has bever been a church doctrine, just one of those “traditions”.

  12. Yes, Bill I did have a bishop in California that was trying to withold temple recommends for cola drinking, but I believe he (and any other bishops doing this) were reprimanded. It was never official policy.

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