Trim American parts of church

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In a Deseret News article today, Elder John K. Carmack, an emeritus general authority and managing director of the Perpetual Education Fund, was quoted as having said the following at yesterday’s 18th annual conference of the LDS International Society.

>The church is at a stage . . . where it is time to trim the parts that are peculiar to the United States and not relevant to the international church.

What parts need trimming?

17 thoughts on “Trim American parts of church

  1. Dress standards, hymn selection, Sunday formats, Word of Wisdom, vocabulary of prayer, missionary practices, church publications — all these things could be better tailored for non-American members. That’s just off the top of my head.

    I’m sure if you asked some non-North-American members, they’d have feedback on other things as well.

  2. I agree with Rick’s list, except for the WOW since that’s a doctrinal mandate.

    We could also stop trying to ‘pioneerize’ the rest of the world. Let’s drop the church celebrated pioneer days to commerate the day they arrived in the salt lake valley. Keep it a local thing.

    How about hosting general conference in different global locations?

    Perhaps the person offering the invocation in conference could leave out any reference to specific local meteorological events (i.e. ‘dear Lord, thank you for the rainfall’. That was a classic).

    Also, leave local US politics out of the messages. Who cares if Hinkley supported the recent attack on Iraq (in response to 9/11), especially when it’s now been proved that justification for the war was based on false information.

    I’m sure the list goes on.

  3. When I spoke about the WoW I meant specifically the regionalised ‘interpretations’ of the WoW — not the whole thing.

    I think you understand my point.

  4. >How about hosting general conference in different global locations?

    Interesting you mention this; this was something suggested in the link in my post.

  5. See, that just feels right. Especially that last line. Let’s get rid of all the cultural aspects to the church and return to the doctrines of salvation.

    Another thing we can get rid of is the scouting program.

  6. The Scouting program is available in most countries of the world. In most cases the world scouting movement has modified it to fit in with the cultural pecularities of the various countries.

    Dress codes might be in for a big change. I noticed that when Elder Oaks did Conference boardcasts from his assignment in the Philippines that he never wore a suit jacket.

    A big thing will be a shift in funding. In many poor countries the fancy temple buildings create the impression that were an arrogant rich church and not suitable for the humble and impoverished.

    The other big thing is educational opportunities. Like all the BYU campuses which are well over 90% rich American kids, whereas over 50% of the total church membership is outside the USA and Canada.

    Will there be a BYU Manila and BYU Sao Paulo? The third world country membership is starved for good educational opportunities.

  7. Re: #2 JM: Is the WoW really a doctrinal mandate? What does the actual scripture say?

    The word of wisdom never was observed as a commandment in the church until the Heber J. Grant administration. Prior to that, it was exactly what the scriptures says it is: advice, that is adaptable to each individual’s personal situations (see D&C 89:2-3). Not only that, but the present official and temple-worthy interpretation of it completely ignores certain aspects of the WoW, such as the admonition to not eat much meat (vv. 12-13) and the WoW explicitly recommends barley-based “mild drinks” in v. 17 (that would be suggesting beer, for the barley-challenged).

    The commandment status of the WoW is very new (only in the last 60 years) and completely ignores the entire intent of the revelation as it was given to Joseph Smith.

    Why should we be demanding that Chinese and other oriental converts give up their tea to become a follower of Christ? I do not think Jesus cares if Chinese saints drink tea. This is just one example, of course.

  8. How about breaking the entire grand faloon into national and culturally specific beliefs?!

    It works for me, and seemingly might appeal to all of you. Since none of you can reach a consensus on any complete understanding of the faith.

  9. Which world religion has all it’s members reaching any consensus on a complete understanding of it’s beliefs?

  10. A recent article in The Economist about the LDS Church opined that Church hadn’t reached the world religion status because it did not yet have local and regional variations in beliefs and doctrine. I would disagree strongly with this operational definition of a world religion. I think a core set of beliefs can be constant worldwide, independent from culture.

    With respect to the Word of Wisdom, I think any question on a temple recommend can fairly safely be considered a core belief. And perhaps this is the best guide as to what should constitute the worldwide, universal doctrine of the Church. I enjoyed participating in Boy Scouts and I have pioneer ancestors, but they don’t really matter to the central tenets of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  11. leave local US politics out of the messages. Who cares if Hinkley [sic] supported the recent attack on Iraq…?

    Is there something showing that he did support the attack?

  12. Nikki, I’m kind of surprised by comment 13. Most of the Church’s buildings are more simple than most of the non-LDS churches I’ve seen.

  13. Will there be a BYU Manila and BYU Sao Paulo? The third world country membership is starved for good educational opportunities.

    The Church does operate schools in other countries. A couple I’ve read about in Church publications are in Tonga and in (oh shoot I wish I could remember more specifically) South America somewhere. A member of my ward served at the Tonga school.

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