Tuesday, November 26, 2019

“The Seven [or Ten] Deadly Heresies”: Thoughts on Elder McConkie’s Famous BYU Devotional Address

            In 1980 Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave a powerful devotional address at Brigham Young University. Most saw it as a sweet doctrinal feast at the table of the Lord, but some others were upset with it and have called it controversial to this day.

            The fact that Elder McConkie quoted scripture in-depth to refute man-made theories that God is still progressing in knowledge and that He used organic evolution to create man (Adam and Eve) did not sit well with those who favored these notions. In fact, those who disagreed with some of his named “heresies” have completely dismissed his teachings out of hand. This they have a right to do, since neither God nor His Church forces anyone to believe truth.

            They further point out that, because of some outcry from liberal voices, President Spencer W. Kimball asked Elder McConkie to soften some of his authoritative-sounding wording, so that readers would know he was speaking for himself and not for the First Presidency.[1] This he willingly did, so there are some differences between the audio and the printed versions. However, this address still caries substantial spiritual power, simply because the Apostle who delivered it taught doctrine from the revealed word of God, as one having authority. Obviously this fact still rankles the loud liberal/progressive elements in the Church today.

            Other heresies Elder McConkie noted and refuted in the talk were:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Joseph Fielding McConkie Explains Symbolism in Abraham 3

            Note: With the arguing and theorizing going on in some (thankfully narrow) circles regarding the Book of Abraham, and some academics going so far as to call it “controversial” scripture, whatever that means, I found the below items refreshing, appealing, and insightful. They certainly don’t portray the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price as anything less than inspired modern revelation from the Prophet Joseph Smith. No matter what some academics, whether in or out of the church/BYU, may say about the Book of Abraham, all of the prophets and apostles and faithful saints have sustained and honored it as a choice scriptural text, part of the canonized standard works, and the voice of God to us today. 

            Joseph Fielding McConkie:

            It’s no fun to teach what you do not understand. As a Pearl of Great Price teacher, I did not look forward to teaching the first part of Abraham 3 in which the old Prophet is given an expansive vision of the order of heaven.
            I heard a few astronomers explain what was involved there and they had plenty of interesting things to say, but they generally lost me somewhere in space wondering how well I had to understand their science to be saved in the kingdom of heaven.