Monday, July 27, 2009

Revised Gospel Principles manual to be used for Relief Society/Priesthood manual in 2010/2011

Excerpts of the sections "Inside Matter" and "Content" of the article  Review: Gospel Principles (revised) Chapters 1 – 10 By: Matt W


For those unaware, The Juvenile Instructor broke the news this morning that the church will be taking a break from "Teaching of the Presidents of the Church" for at least 2010-2011 to return to basics with the publication of a new edition of the Gospel Principles manual. Finding this out, I acquired a copy, and perused the first 10 chapters. Here are my impressions.


Inside Matter:

Omitted from this edition is the Glossary, the selection of Hymns and copy of the Articles of Faith found in previous editions. This is perhaps due to the fact that the hymns selections were rarely used, the Glossary has been replaced by the more extensive "True to the Faith" manual, and the Articles of Faith are available in the scriptures.



I think people are going to be disappointed at how little is different in terms of content. I quickly annotated the differences in the first ten chapters, and there are very few changes. These changes can be broken down into 5 types.

1. Re-organized sentences without a change to meaning. Examples:

  • Was "…we could choose…" now is "…we could exercise our agency to choose…"
  • Was "accept or reject the calling." Now is "accept or reject the opportunity to serve"

2. Scripture additions- These come in two types

  • Added supporting scriptures which were not in the previous edition, like adding Moses 2:26 as a reference to our being made in God's image.
  • Dropping a statement and replacing it with a quote to get the same meaning, like dropping "[The Holy Ghost] is a spirit that has the form and likeness of man." And adding "He is a 'personage of spirit' (D&C 130:22)"

3. Bibliographic changes

  • Any references to quotes that are available in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manuals now reference those manuals.
  • Some statements previously had references on them which no longer appear, notable references to "Discourses of Brigham Young", and "Mormon Doctrine" are now missing. (In fact, for those interested, the book no longer has any citations to Mormon Doctrine at all)

4. Changes by addition- There are very few of these. The three majors examples from the first ten chapters are

  • A reference to gender being a pre-mortal characteristic as an example of not being alike in Heaven
  • A brief paragraph in the chapter on scriptures describing the Joseph Smith Translation.
  • Where the text originally discussed Adam and Eve's marriage in terms of "Eve was Given to Adam because…" it now uses a more neutral "God brought Adam and Eve together in marriage because…"

5. Changes by omission-These are more numerous, the most notable being:

  • the exorcism of the term "Heavenly Parents" from the text, replaced by the term "Heavenly Father". The term was only used in Chapters 2-5 and Chapter 32 of the book, so while this change sounds large, it really only changed 5-10 references.
  • When discussing prophetic authority, the book no longer references the story of Lorenzo Snow calling the St. George area to repentance for not paying tithing.
  • Where it used to say "nothing will help us draw closer to God than prayer" in now says "prayer will help us draw closer to God."

Even with the above changes I've mentioned, it appears that 90% of the book is unchanged. If you already have a copy of this manual, you probably won't need a new one.

No comments: