Bruce McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” out of print due to low sales.

For those dealing in counter-cult apologetics, if you do not have Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine you better get your hands on it soon, as it’s about to get harder to find and possibly more expensive to purchase. Anyone dealing with Mormons knows the value of this book, and now it will no longer be in print due to a decreased demand. I procured my copy a few years back and I won’t be selling it anytime soon.

Part of me wonders if the decision to stop printing it has anything to do with how much of the real Mormonism it reveals: God was once a man; you can become a God; the black race is cursed; Christ couldn’t atone for all sins and you yourself must atone for some of your own sins by your own shed blood just to name a few.

None of these teachings, I might add, were of McConkie’s own imagination; he merely expounded on already established LDS teachings and doctrines, even though the mainstream LDS organization has been back-peddling from many of these core Mormon doctrines in recent years as they’ve done a phenomenal job at PR in their attempt to look just like Christians. This, of course, is perplexing when you consider that the genesis of their very existence was precipitated on the idea that Christians are apostate.

Oftentimes when a non-Mormon quotes from Mormon Doctrine he is met with the typical Mormon responses that it is not authoritative, it is not scripture, it is not part of LDS canon, and it was only McConkie’s opinions. Ironically these excuses are never appealed to whenever they quote from the Mormon apostle’s work.

This selective use of LDS teachings by Mormons makes the following article from the Salt Lake Tribune even more revealing as they admit:

Although McConkie, an LDS apostle who died in 1985, took sole responsibility from the start for Mormon Doctrine ‘s content, it often was quoted over the pulpit and treated by members as quasi-official. The book, with its presumptive title, seemed to provide an answer to every question and left little room for ambiguity.

Mormon Doctrine served two generations of the Mormon rank and file as the main authoritative source of LDS teachings,” said LDS sociologist Armand Mauss. “With its authoritative tone and constant promotion from high places, it came to be regularly cited in the church curriculum, especially in [Church Educational System] materials, and soon took on almost a scriptural stature.

You can read the entire article of the demise of McConkie’s tome on the Salt lake Tribune website by clicking here or below by clicking the following link:

After more than 50 years, Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine , one of the most influential LDS books of the 20th century, has quietly gone out of print.

The encyclopedic explanation of LDS teachings, first published in 1958, went through 40 printings, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. Deseret Book has decided not to reprint the classic volume, said spokeswoman Gail Halladay, because of “low sales.”

“The demand is no longer there,” said Halladay, managing director for marketing and communications.

From the day it came off the presses, though, Mormon Doctrine , was at once wildly popular to many and deeply troubling to more than a few, even at the highest levels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Several passages about the Roman Catholic Church and McConkie’s views of blacks were seen as especially offensive.

Although McConkie, an LDS apostle who died in 1985, took sole responsibility from the start for Mormon Doctrine ‘s content, it often was quoted over the pulpit and treated by members as quasi-official. The book, with its presumptive title, seemed to provide an answer to every question and left little room for ambiguity.

Mormon Doctrine served two generations of the Mormon rank and file as the main authoritative source of LDS teachings,” said LDS sociologist Armand Mauss. “With its authoritative tone and constant promotion from high places, it came to be regularly cited in the church curriculum, especially in [Church Educational System] materials, and soon took on almost a scriptural stature.

To assemble the volume, McConkie, son-in-law of LDS Church President Joseph Fielding Smith, drew on Mormon scriptures, prophetic sermons and commonly held beliefs. He put them together in alphabetical order and with a tone of certainty.

Still, many complained that it did not fairly reflect the diversity of opinion among Latter-day Saints and their leaders.

“The book would more accurately have been entitled, Mostly Mormon Doctrine ,” Mauss wrote in an e-mail from his home in Irvine, Calif.

The book was even challenged by LDS President David O. McKay, who led the church from 1951 to 1970.

McKay asked two senior apostles, Mark E. Petersen and Marion G. Romney, to review Mormon Doctrine soon after its release and propose a list of corrections, according to David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory Prince and Robert Wright.

Petersen recommended 1,067 changes “that affected most of the 776 pages of the book,” the biography says.

McKay feared that if the corrections were made, it would seriously affect McConkie’s credibility, so he preferred not to see the book republished at all.

“Nonetheless, McConkie audaciously approached McKay six years later and pushed for publication of the book in a revised form,” according to Prince and Wright. McKay responded that “if republished,” the book should be clearly marked as McConkie’s work and not an official church publication.

McConkie took that as a go-ahead, Prince and Wright wrote.

“The book became one of the all-time best-sellers in Mormondom,” they wrote, “achieving the near-canonical status that McKay had fought unsuccessfully to avoid, and setting a tone of doctrinal fundamentalism, antithetical to McKay’s personal philosophy, that remains a legacy of the church to this day.”

McConkie came to be viewed as a leading LDS theologian. He wrote many other books, including a series about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the chapter headings in Mormon scriptures, even the words to the popular LDS hymn “I Believe in Christ.”

Many Mormons forever will remember his tearful and stirring final testimony at the April 1985 General Conference just weeks before dying of cancer.

“I am one of [Christ's] witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears,” he said. “But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s almighty son, that he is our savior and redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”

Prince said he “never saw anything in Bruce McConkie that was mean or un-Christian,” but the LDS scientist nonetheless was “delighted” by news that Mormon Doctrine no longer would be published.

“His book,” Prince said, “has done some serious damage.”

In the first edition, Prince said, it was his “diatribe against the Roman Catholic Church that did the most harm, but subsequently, the real damage has been his statements about blacks.”

After the LDS Church opened its all-male priesthood to blacks in 1978, McConkie deleted his previous statement predicting that never would happen. Even in the most recent edition, though, McConkie wrote that God cursed Cain with “a mark of a dark skin, and he became the ancestor of the black race.”

Mauss, the sociologist, thinks the book is going out of print “none too soon, especially given the current public-relations preoccupation of the LDS Church.”

The volume’s continued availability after its wide distribution, he said, will “continue to provide critics of the church with an enduring basis for claiming, however unfairly, that ‘Mormon doctrines’ are non-Christian or anti-Christian, and that the church is a racist institution.”

“Elder McConkie was an apostle and a good man but a man of his times,” said Darius Gray, former president of the Genesis Branch for black Mormons. “Sadly his times included a period in this nation when not all men were judged by the content of their character but rather the color of their skin.”

The gospel of Jesus Christ never has been a respecter of persons, said Gray, co-producer with Margaret Blair Young of a documentary film, “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons.”

“The LDS Church is a young church,” he said, “and, as it has grown, it has become more inclusive, embracing of all God’s creations.”

The continual publication of Mormon Doctrine seemed to suggest an approval of the concepts and attitudes of a former time, Gray said. By not reprinting it, “a weight will have been lifted off the body of the church. We have thankfully moved on.”

13 thoughts on “Bruce McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” out of print due to low sales.

  1. Pilgrim,

    Beyond the possibility of an LDS cover-up of sorts (they desperately want to be known as “Christians” now) it may very well be that there truly is a lack of interest in polemics from within the LDS organization. Check out the quote and link below from Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega:

    “When we would talk to Mormons in the 1980s, they knew their faith, and cared about proclaiming it to others, and defending it as well. In other words, they tended to actually believe it is true. But things have changed over the past decades. Mormonism has been so deeply infiltrated by post-modern thinking that, combined with its predisposition to subjectivism, has led to a tremendous decline in its apologetic ferver. A general apathy in the face of challenge now marks the large majority of Mormons.”

    Link to article here.

    In Christ,
    CD

  2. CD,

    It would appear that the Mormons have been afflicted with the same spiritual apathy that attached itself to so many mainstream and evangelical churches as well. How else could Erwin McManus be accepted as a Southern Baptist Pastor?

  3. You are right CD, as James White noticed, I too noticed how differently Mormons defend and present their faith today from that of just the 1990s.

    The Mormonism of today resembles very little to the Mormonism of Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s day. In fact, I believe if they saw what mainstream Mormonism is today they’d be rolling in their graves.

    This is why such branches/denominations of Mormonism like the FLDS are more in line with true Mormonism than with the mainstream LDS church. The mainstream LDS church is equivalent to our Rick Warrens and Joel Osteens who claim to be part of Christianity, yet are so far from true Biblical Christianity that it bears very little resemblance other than the name.

    So when debating with a Mormon and they say “we don’t believe that” yet you have it clearly stated in such works as Mormon Doctrine, History of the Church, etc., now you know why. They really aren’t taught many of the original LDS doctrines . . . and perhaps that’s why they’re growing, because if today’s Mormons knew the true face of Mormonism (not the polished version we have today) perhaps their numbers would quickly dwindle.

  4. you better get your hands on it soon, as it’s about to get harder to find and possibly more expensive to purchase.

    I picked up my copy at a school book sale this spring for $0.99–which is about $0.98 more than it’s worth 8^)

    If this stuff was never “official Mormon doctrine” then why is a Mormon apostle teaching it and, more importantly, why did the LDS authorities give it the go-ahead to be published? (Yes, I am asking rhetorically. Why do you ask?)

  5. MD says:

    Back in Joseph Smith/Brigham Young days women were also churning butter and wore homemade dresses that came down to their ankles. I think all individuals in that era would be turning in their graves if they saw things of today so this is an ignorant statement

    “The Mormonism of today resembles very little to the Mormonism of Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s day. In fact, I believe if they saw what mainstream Mormonism is today they’d be rolling in their graves.”.

    Times change and modern day leadership (church wide, politics, etc.) deal with modern day issues…just like biblical times…..

    Bruce R. McKonkie was an Apostle, not a God. Just a reminder to you stone casters Judas Iscariot was also an Apostle, he walked and talked with the Savior. He betrayed the Savior. Point being just because Elder McConkie was an Apostle does not make him perfect or does not make him understand everything. (Jesus’ disciples always asked him what he meant by the parables he gave.) Bruce R. McConkie had flaws like every other man on this Earth and he learned and grew in knowledge as he desired and studied it just like we do.

    God is no respecter of persons. He does not care if you are black, white, look like a super model or a giant wart. We don’t need anyone to tell us that because we know if for ourselves! Elder McConkie learned these things also.

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=11017

    Bruce R. McConkie: Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.

  6. Bruce R. McConkie: Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.

    So, does this mean that God just didn’t quite know how to get His point across for the first 140 or so years? Did He tell the GA, “Oh, hey, guys–that whole ‘blacks can’t hold the priesthood because I cursed them after they rebelled against Me in the pre-existence? Just forget all that. Forget it happened.” If it was not an OFFICIAL teaching of the LDS church, then why the need to add the special declaration to the D&C? This is just like when LDS try and say that there was no polygamy in the early LDS church. Again, if no polygamy, why the need to add special declaration 1?

    This seems to be the Mormon version of the “trump card.” The ability to say, “Well, yeah, that’s what Brigham Young and Joseph Smith taught. But they didn’t have the full knowledge. So, just forget all that, pay no mind to the man behind the curtain, and let’s move on. Oh yeah–and it wasn’t official.”

    Question is, how does one judge the veracity of “new revelations” that contradict the Standard Works? Does one believe the “new revelation” or the Standard Works? And how is it that something can be taught by every president, prophet, apostle, etc, but not be “official Mormon doctrine?” This seems to be another “escape hatch”–the ability to teach something over and over and over again, for years and years and years, and then get to a point where it the LDS church feels pressured to change its position, and say, “Well, it isn’t in the BOM or the PGP or the D&C, so it was simply the opinion of these men and we can change it.”

  7. Jeff H says:

    Bruce R. McConkie: Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation.

    My Mormon friend, how do you keep up? How do you not feel like a duck in a shooting gallery?

    What if you have the 2009 edition of the BOM, but an outdated D&C or a 1997 PoGP? or…?

    When your apostles are receiving revelations from God, how do they know what to do when these revelations contradict? I mean, were they right initially when every Mormon followed their doctrine, and then at some other point in time their decrees became false doctrine and they were suddenly labeled apostates?

    The Holy Bible — God’s revealed Word — never changes, never contradicts, is never disproved.

    You are also in a works-righteousness religion. I would gently ask you: have you worked enough to reach the celestial kingdom? How much is enough?

    Also, have you really always kept all of the 10 commandments?
    Can you?
    Can anyone?

    There is grace, my Mormon friend, through the Jesus Christ of Scripture (not a co-creation like the Devil). He is the eternal Son of God and He has purchased forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father (not ‘Elohim’) for you.

    Through repentance and faith (in Christ ALONE) you can have the Kingdom! Eternal life with God.

    – Jeff H

  8. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

    – Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s 1984

    It looks like the LDS organization was simply ahead of the curve in employing Orwell’s truism; not unlike the RCC. Evidently “new light” is extremely useful when clearing out the embarrassing, outmoded, and unfashionable theological clutter of yesteryear!

    Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. – Proverbs 22:28

    Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ – Jeremiah 6:16

    In Christ,
    CD

  9. Christen says:

    Looks like you are are not getting your facts from a creditable source. You should look into the Articles of Faith. We believe that it is through Christ that we can return to Heavenly Father who saved and still saves us from our spiritual and physical deaths through the Atonement and Resurrection. The spirit can teach us all the things we search to know! And only through the spirit can we truly know!

  10. Christen,

    I am an ex-Mormon and have studied carefully the LDS faith for over thirty years, including early histories, journals, original D&C (Book of Commandments) original BOM (which has undergone over 4000 changes), the Journal of Discourses, etc, etc. SO you can’t say I am not a credible source.

    The LDS God is NOT the God of the Bible. The LDS Christ is not the Christ of the Bible. Even your interpretation of the words “atonement” and “resurrection,” let alone “salvation” are totally different from historical, true Christianity.

    Mormons say the current prophet/president’s teachings supersede anything that is contradictory from previous prophets. My question is this: if Brigham Young was a true prophet of God and stated that what he taught was the word of God, then why does current LDS teaching deny Young’s teaching of the Adam/God doctrine? Why do current LDS deny blood atonement doctrine?

    Bruce McConkie was not a simple layman, but taught the precise teachings of the LDS. Now the LDS church claims some of the stuff he said was just his opinion.

    Why is it the LDS faith, which is supposedly a restored Christianity, continues to change what its teachings are? Simple things like polygamy – D&C 132- still says that no one will reach the Celestial heaven without being a polygamist. The teaching has never been revoked, especially since it was stated to be an eternal covenant. The manifesto only advised LDS members to cease its practice so as to conform to the law. So if the law says you can’t do something God tells you to do, then you just give into the law?

    I could go on forever with problems of the LDS faith, but I don’t think it is fair to “shot gun” with all these issues. But you should give them some serious thought.

    You follow a false prophet who was a know necromancer, even after he supposedly had his first vision. He wrote a book which has been demonstrated by everyone except Mormons to be historically inaccurate, as well as theologically inaccurate. Both your primary holy books, the BOM and D&C, have undergone numerous changes over the years to hide previous bad stuff and to add things to make Joseph look good. The Book of Abraham was proven to be fraudulent decades ago and yet you still have that as a holy book.

    The only way the Holy Spirit can teach you things is if you listen to him rather than the other spirit of Mormonism. I pray you will find the desire to search the truth as I did over 35 years ago.

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