The End of An Era

May 20, 2010 | 31 comments
By

According to this, Mormon Doctrine will no longer be published.

I’m sure the Bloggernacle has nothing to say about that.

31 Responses to The End of An Era

  1. Ben on May 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    My sources inside the COB know nothing of this… It sounds like a DB decision, not a LDS Church decision.

  2. Scott B. on May 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Oh Julie. You are so coy…

  3. Bro. Jones on May 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    In other news: eBay prices for Mormon Doctrine spike! Buy your investment copy now!

  4. Ammon on May 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Glad I already have my copy.

    @Ben, totally agree with you. DB publishes the book, not the LDS Church.

  5. loganmc10 on May 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    One of my favourite quotes from Mormon Doctrine:
    “In the final analysis the truth of doctrine can only be known by revelation”

  6. Dan on May 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    goodbye and good riddance.

  7. Rob Perkins on May 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Never owned it; never will.

  8. Gilgamesh on May 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I own a first edition/first printing. Ca-ching!!!

  9. Ardis E. Parshall on May 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Now if only DB were a little like Kindle and could waft through the ether at night to retrieve previously sold copies …

  10. Left Field on May 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Aside from the more serious issues, the book has simply been outdated for decades. Church organization and practice has changed immensely from the ’60s when it received its last major update. Some of the information on auxilaries, priesthood quorums, disciplinary councils, the patriarch to the church, the presiding bishopric, and church units, to name a few, haven’t been current for 30-40 years. Articles relating to the 1978 revelation were updated at that time, but nothing else was revised. The First Quorum of the Seventy for example, was organized in the mid-’70s, but you’ll find no mention of it in MD.

  11. Jared on May 20, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Elder McConkie’s writing are a must read for anyone interested in Mormon doctrine. As an apostle he provided many great doctrinal insights.

    Mormon Doctrine is just one of his books. The fact it isn’t being published any longer isn’t a problem for me. I don’t refer to Mormon Doctrine has much as I do to his other books.

  12. Chris H. on May 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    So, it is published by DB and not the Church. Not sure if this is all that significant since the Church tightly controls DB.

    I am sure somebody else will pick it up. DB will then sell it in their stores.

  13. Chris H. on May 20, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Jared,

    He didn’t write MD as an apostle.

  14. Ben S on May 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    “So, it is published by DB and not the Church. Not sure if this is all that significant since the Church tightly controls DB.”

    Sure. But if no one in the COB knows about it, it’s a DB decision.

  15. Cameron on May 20, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I think most members probably have a copy or have access to one either in print or online. Book publishers print books that sell and some just have had their time in the selling sun as it were. I wonder if there is a fuss over the other books written by Church authorities that are no longer printed?

  16. manaen on May 21, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I have a copy of both the first and the second editions. Here’s my canned response that I post when an opponent of the Church tries to hold us to MD (note that it was published by BookCraft, which was acquired by Deseret Book 40 years later).
    .
    = = = = =
    .
    I noticed that you quoted from “Mormon Doctrine.” Please note that the author wrote in the Preface of this book, for both the 1st and 2nd editions, “For the work itself, I assume sole and full responsibility.” He also wrote in the second edition’s Preface, “In publishing this Second Edition, as is common with major encyclopedic-type works, experience has shown the wisdom of making some changes, clarifications, and additions.”
    .
    This book was published by Bookcraft, an independent publisher then.
    .
    So:
    1) The book states that it is solely the responsibility of the author: it is not offered as authoritative for LDS doctrine
    2) The author himself views the content as flexible, subject to changes.
    3) It was not published by the Church nor by an entity controlled by the Church
    .
    These being true, it never is appropriate to use “Mormon Doctrine” as an authoritative source about, well, Mormon doctrine.

  17. Chino Blanco on May 21, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Canned is right, manaen. For anyone who bothered to follow the link “It’s déjà vu all over again” …

    What sort of response have you gotten when inserting the same caveat into chapel discussions?

  18. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on May 21, 2010 at 1:08 am

    If I had a first edition of that i’d throw it on Ebay, put some new tires on the van.

  19. Chino Blanco on May 21, 2010 at 1:38 am

    By the way, if you check the dates, I think you’ll find that DB made its decision shortly after the Internet became aware of the striking resemblance between Elder Bruce R. McConkie and Senator Al Franken.

    Just sayin’.

  20. Alex on May 21, 2010 at 7:09 am

    For those who mourn, the Bible Dictionary should offer a source of comfort. Most of the entries there are taken, in some cases almost verbatim, to Mormon Doctrine.

    Does discontinuing this book make the Church seem more ‘progressive’?

  21. Bob on May 21, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I await the DVD. Sorry Elder McConkie__ all who let the book carry on for 52 years__share the responsibility for it’s being.

  22. Scott on May 21, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Since books have a long shelf life, Mormon Doctrine will continue to be a valued resource in my gospel library.

  23. Kent Larsen on May 21, 2010 at 11:34 am

    “Book publishers print books that sell and some just have had their time in the selling sun as it were.”

    Yes, but not so much any longer. Why DB has failed to adopt now-common technologies that would keep books like this in print, I can’t understand, especially since those same technologies would help expand the market for LDS books, and help DB’s other works sell.

    “I wonder if there is a fuss over the other books written by Church authorities that are no longer printed?”

    Depends on the book. Mormon Doctrine had a pretty unique position — which is why Pres. McKay asked for it to be pulled out of print for several years. He was worried that even though it was McConkie’s work, it would be perceived as representing official doctrine. And for many it did.

    FWIW, Mormon Doctrine will go into the public domain in 2056 (barring a change in the law). If the copyright is still with the McConkie family, it could, as suggested above, get back into print at another publisher. IIRC, it is still available electronically on Deseret Book’s online service, Gospel Link.

    I doubt the book will really disappear, and any suggestion that the Church is somehow behind this move in an attempt to get rid of reliance on an outdated work needs to confront the fact that the book will still remain very available.

  24. Neal on May 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I believe David O. McKay’s First Presidency found over a thousand errors in McConkie (and father-in-law) Doc as noted in the Prince/Wright biography. I haven’y owned a copy since I knew everything as a missionary. Love McConkie but I wonder if he ever said, “I don’t know.”

  25. David T on May 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Good-bye, and good-riddance. As important as it was, hopefully this is the beginning of a new generation of members not being raised with its many opinions as Revealed Gospel Truth.

  26. liberty on May 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I agree with those of you waving good riddance to Mormon Doctrine. It definitely shaped Mormon culture for decades. Perhaps now we can turn a fresh eye to the scriptures?

  27. Crick on May 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Even President Hinckley quoted Mormon Doctrine in General Conference.

    The book is still a major force.

  28. Bob on May 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    #25: “Good-bye, and good-riddance”. Not going to happen. It serves a need, (don’t ask me what), in the Mormon culture. Only the that culture can say good-bye to it.

  29. Kent Larsen on May 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Bob, while I tend to agree, I should point out that there are alternatives. ?The Encyclopedia of Mormonism served this role to a degree, and several writers have composed their own doctrinal dictionaries, such as Rulon Burton’s We Believe.

    I’m not suggesting that these works have been successful in replacing Mormon Doctrine, just that it is possible that the culture could move on to another work.

    This is also a possible additional explanation for Deseret Book’s action — there could be a new, similar work in process.

  30. Alison Moore Smith on May 24, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Love McConkie but I wonder if he ever said, “I don’t know.”

    In my teens I first read parts of MD and asked my dad (who still pretty much knows everything in the world) about some of the questionable parts. For fun, he asked his friend, our neighbor, Joseph Fielding McConkie, what his dad said about some of those things. His quote, “Well, I was wrong.”

  31. Steve on May 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Bob, while I tend to agree, I should point out that there are alternatives. ?The Encyclopedia of Mormonism served this role to a degree, and several writers have composed their own doctrinal dictionaries, such as Rulon Burton’s We Believe.

    I’m not suggesting that these works have been successful in replacing Mormon Doctrine, just that it is possible that the culture could move on to another work.

    This is also a possible additional explanation for Deseret Book’s action — there could be a new, similar work in process.