Latest from Mormon Land: President Nelson calls for more than ‘thoughts and prayers’; revisiting McConkie’s ‘Mormon Doctrine’

Biographer disputes that the late apostle published a second edition against then-President David O. McKay’s wishes.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson smiles at his office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on April 13, 2022. The church leader urges people to do more than offer "thoughts and prayers" in the wake of tragedy by looking for ways to help those in need.

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Prayers and actions

“Thoughts and prayers” in the wake of tragedy and for those in need are all well and good — even divinely decreed — says President Russell M. Nelson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these entreaties should include a desire to take action.

“When I ask God in prayer for direction on what I can do to help minister, lift, love and support those in need,” Nelson wrote on Instagram on last Thursday’s National Day of Prayer, “he answers these prayers with specific and simple things I can actually do to bless one of his children.”

The church leader then invited others to do the same.

“Consider how your thoughts and prayers can be a catalyst for God to inspire and direct you toward acts of kindness, compassion and generosity,” Nelson stated. “Imagine how much good you could do.”

Actions, to this way of thinking, can speak as loud if not louder than words — even words uttered on bended knees.

Revised ‘Mormon Doctrine’ revisited

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Former Latter-day Saint apostle Bruce R. McConkie gives a General Conference address in 1985. His encyclopedic "Mormon Doctrine," though out of print, continues to stir debate.

“Mormon Doctrine,” the popular but polarizing encyclopedic exploration of Latter-day Saint teachings by the late apostle Bruce R. McConkie, may be out of print, but it continues to hold a favored and frequented place on many a member’s bookshelf.

And it still generates devotion, discussion and disputation.

Much is written, for instance, about top church leaders’ displeasure with the volume’s authoritative tone and a number of its tenets.

But, in a recent interview for Kurt Manwaring’s “From the Desk,” biographer Dennis B. Horne takes exception to widely reported accounts that McConkie went against the desires of then-church President David O. McKay in publishing a second edition.

“Absolutely not,” Horne insists. “This is one of those falsehoods that sadly goes around.”

For evidence, he points to this statement from McConkie’s son:

“On July 5, 1966, President McKay invited Elder McConkie into his office and gave approval for the book to be reprinted if appropriate changes were made and approved,” Joseph Fielding McConkie recounts. “... ‘Mormon Doctrine’ was reissued in 1966, and its author was called to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1972. It takes a pretty good imagination to suppose that a man who flagrantly ignored the direction of the president of the church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would be called to fill a vacancy in that body. Whatever faults one might want to attribute to Bruce McConkie, no one who knew him could question his integrity or his discipline, particularly where matters of priesthood direction were concerned.”

From The Tribune

(Evan Agostini/Invision | AP) Maisie Williams attends HBO's "Game of Thrones" final season premiere at Radio City Music Hall in 2019. She is set to star in "Sinner V. Saints" about a former beauty queen who was accused of abducting and raping a Latter-day Saint missionary.

• The “Manacled Mormon” case — in which a former beauty queen was accused of abducting a Latter-day Saint missionary in England and forcing him to have sex — is being adapted for a feature film starring Freddie Highmore of “The Good Doctor” and Maisie Williams from “Game of Thrones.”

Read the story.

• Historian Benjamin Park argues in a recent Washington Post piece, that Orrin Hatch helped transform Latter-day Saints into one of the most reliably Republican voting blocs. On this week’s “Mormon Land,” Park discusses the late Utah senator, his influence, his politics, his piety and his place in history.

Listen to the podcast.

• Mormon studies scholars, appearing on last week’s “Mormon Land” podcast, say “Under the Banner of Heaven” misses the mark on a number of points, but they note Latter-day Saints can still learn much about themselves from the miniseries.

Read the excerpts and listen to the podcast.

• Religion News Service columnist Jana Riess worries that apostle Dale Renlund’s General Conference warning not to speculate about Heavenly Mother will quash all talk of her?

Read her column.

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