False Gospel Doctrine

So in the LDS church you submit yourself to 3 hours of church/Sunday. Recently I have only been able to get through the first hour, due to lots and lots of nausea. Today I managed to stay during the first AND second hour, which is Sunday school. You can choose which class you go to (Gospel Essentials is for new converts or investigators, sometimes they have a class on Marriage, or Familiy History...), and I usually go to Gospel Doctrine with Danny because it's where most everybody goes. Today we were with his family at their home ward in Colorado, and the teacher said something that was utterly false doctrine.

If you aren't LDS then you won't know the buzz word "secret combination". Basically, several civilizations in the Book of Mormon perished because people were wicked and turned to Satan for power. They use "secret combinations" - but that's about the length of description the Book of Mormon gives to describe exactly what they do to get their evil power. I think any sane person could understand why a holy book wouldn't include details of sadistic rituals, rites, and secrets.

Anyway, the teacer said that the definition of a "secret combination" is any kind of deal done in secret. To his credit, everyone in the room knew what he MEANT, but what he actually said was that any deal done in secret to the benefit of those making it was a secret combination.

I spent a good portion of the clas shooting holes through his definition in whispers to Danny at the back of the classroom.

"Secrets gleaned by spies during WWII?"
"ANY kind of foreign intelligence? Like in Iraq?"
"What about businessmen? So their company secrets count as 'secret combinations'?"

I ended up raising my hand and saying, "Well, I think you need to say that the definition of a 'secret combination' is any deal done in secret FOR EVIL...what about Mary? If she had told everyone she was pregnant..."

And he interrupted me to say, "That's not what we're talking about, obviously!"

("Well, it's what you SAID we were talking about! If you look at it one way, what Mary and Gabriel did was a sort of 'deal' in secrecy! I'm sure that if Mary could have refused, even though obviously she wouldn't have...")

It bugs me when GD teachers assume that everyone's on the same page, and when they try to make super oversimplified generalizations that just don't work.

I couldn't stay after the GD class because I was super hungry and exhausted, so Danny and I went out to the car, still discussing this issue. Me: "I mean, what's the point in defining a 'secret combination' anyway? The Book of Mormon doesn't! There doesn't seem to be any real value in doing that!"

Sigh. He was probably trying his best, and I'm sure his heart was in the right place. Yet words are extremely important, especially when you are supposed to be the keeper of knowledge.


  1. Hi, Kate.

    As you know, I teach seminary. The manuals we have (and those that the gospel doctrine teachers use - different manuals, but same idea) must pass "Correlation." That is, they go through a committee which says, yes, this is true doctrine, that isn't... etc. The manuals are put forth as best as the Church can come up with, as the true doctrines put forth by the Church. What I find is that in efforts to embellish the lesson, it is easy to get distracted or say something that is not true... also, not in the manual... So we must be careful to follow the guidelines, lest we say something false.

    I ran into this recently when discussing the ideas of tolerance and diversity... More about it later, if you're interested.

    Love ya.


  2. and thats why I hope and pray I am NEVERRRRRRRRR called to a teaching calling (besides primary...because i'm about on the ctr 6-7 level :)

    thankfully we never lost power. we did get quite a bit of snow! im just hoping our drive up to Bellingham on wednesday will be safe and not too hectic!

    I wish I could make middle eastern food...I've never even attempted it. I have been CRAVING IT LIKE CRAZYYYYYYYY. I think I'm going to have to invite my egyptian friend (and his wife) to come over and teach me. I have honestly been dreaming of all the yummy food I used to serve/eat when I worked at House of Kabob in SLC!!!
    Do you know of any good restaurants in our area? Tom wasn't sure if there was any.

  3. I actually subscribed to your blog because of this post, since I've felt the same way many times. Good for you for trying to set things straight, in my experience it never works though because the teacher always seems to have something to say in an attempt to justify what they previously said.

  4. The only keeper of the knowledge is God himself and any person can get access to that through personal study and prayer. That is the beauty of the Church. If you don't quite get what is said, go directly to the source.

    Don't put the brunt of the responsibility for gospel learning upon a Sunday School teacher. Heck, if we all actually read our lessons before we came we would all be on the same page. Sunday School is also supposed to be a group learning activity and therefore we all learn together from each other not just from the guy (or gal) standing at the front of the room.

    All this said, I do know what it is like to be tired, sick and pregnant and this just sounds like a case of that. I hope you feel better soon.

    Your cousin Leah

  5. I'm sitting here trying to figure out the best most diplomatic way to say respond to your frustration. So here goes.

    It is true the BoM doesn't have a glossary with that gives a definition everyone can look up and settle things. However, it does tell us exactly what a secret combination looks like. Ether8:13-18. Makes it clear that a secret combination requires a loyalty oath not to be revealed on pain of death. Their purpose is to gain power and their oaths began with Cain who murdered to get gain. Their tacticts include murder, plunder, lies and "all manner of wickeness and whoedoms.

    Whatever organizations uses these kinds of tactics to get either power or gain can correctly be classified as a secret combination. Just because our society justifies some of these kinds of practices by governments or businesses does not make them any less evil. You can't have a combination without a conspiracy of some sort. Mary did not conspire with anyone. But, buisinesses and businessmen do conspire all the time in order to get gain. Hopefully they do not murder. But, who knows.

    Your comment probably took the teacher off guard and he didn't have a ready answer. I have to agree with him and you and that keeping quiet about sacred things or about personal things has nothing to do with secret combinations.

  6. Dude. I had an experience like this just last month.

    I swear, mormons say the WEIRDEST things in fast and testimony meeting. And although this is true everywhere, I think it is ESPECIALLY applicable to Utah/Utah Valley.

    Last month, this guy went up to bear his testimony, and he said and I quote "Dinosaurs did not evolve from birds. That is a lie that scientists tell you to make you believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. They even go so far as to carve little pricks on the bones to make you think that they once had feathers connected to them."


    Another time, a lady spent the entire time talking about a neighborhood watch program. And another time, a lady sobbed at the pulpit for twenty minutes straight talking about the life expectancy of babies and how guilty she felt about her baby being healthy.

    I mean, I can understand you feeling that way, but when you stand there for so long and only mention Christ at the very end for one second before you get down, I feel like something's missing somehow...

    I think the bishops or first counselors should read the "rules" of fast and testimony meetings on a monthly basis. Also, I think teachers (specifically the one you described and my institute teacher) need to go through a retraining every few years. My institute teacher told us (and I quote) "Women should wear things that are pink and frilly to bring out their femininity," and "I hope- no, I PRAY that any woman who graduates from college will NEVER have to use her degree."


    -your sister


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