Dr. Michael Goodman was part of the team tagged to write the institute cornerstone course The Eternal Family. He and his team developed 28 lessons using the 600-word “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” as a framework.
When deciding what to include, the writers needed to determine what was doctrine and what was individual interpretation.
Using definitions provided by LDS Church leaders, they were able to articulate clear criteria.
Doctrine is what the current prophets, seers, and revelators are teaching. They include eternal, essential truths necessary for our salvation and meet three criteria:
- Doctrine is eternal; it does not change through time.
- Doctrine is sustained by the united voice of the Council of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency.
- Doctrine is necessary for our salvation.
On LDS.org, the nine basic doctrines of the Church are listed and are now the current focus of the seminary Doctrinal Mastery program.
Dr. Goodman points out in his discussion with Laura Harris Hales of the LDS Perspectives Podcast that just because something isn’t doctrine, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t come from God. It simply means we can look at it in light of its non-doctrinal nature.