The historical consistency of the LDS experience

“If Joseph Smith were to walk into a conference of the (LDS) Church today he would find himself completely at home; and if he were to address the congregation they would never for a moment detect anything the least bit strange, unfamiliar, or old-fashioned.” — Hugh Nibley, writing in 1946 in the essay “No Ma’am, That’s Not History.”

if we are to imagine Joseph Smith talking at General Conference, what would he say? Would he feel comfortable with the words of modern-day prophets?

With the exception of mid-19th century figures of speech that we would not recognize, Joseph Smith’s doctrine would be exactly what modern-day prophets teach today. He would recognize that the tweaks in the doctrine — ending plural marriage, for example — would be necessary for our modern times. Re-read some of Joseph Smith’s talks to see what I mean.

This is unique. I can think of very few religious institutions that are two centuries old that have such historical consistency. This is worth pondering for faithful Latter-day Saints. When the Savior comes again, would he feel comfortable at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint General Conference? Based on what I know if Him and what I have read of His actions and words, I would have to say yes.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

4 thoughts on “The historical consistency of the LDS experience

  1. To build on Hans’ comment, a testament to living prophets, and the fact that they are the mouthpieces for the Savior. They don’t develop or change the doctrine, or eternal truth.

  2. Amen to immutable things and beings. I know that the rug will never be pulled out from under me. I know stand safe in the doctrine as promulgated by all the prophets from Joseph Smith on. What comfort.

  3. I’ve seen comments in other social media forums indicating that Joseph Smith would not like what goes on in our wards. Perhaps. I think people forget that Joseph Smith saw a lot of very strange things and very strange behavior in his own relatively short lifetime, including dozens of close friends going from supporter to apostate in the space of a few days. I think he would understand that wards include people on the road to apostasy — as well as many firm supporters of the Church, of course. But when it comes to General Conference — Joseph Smith would love it.

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