I had the great good fortune of accompanying my wife to a session at MHA on race in the church. Alongside two other great presentations (one on a complex “branch” in Appalachia, the other on BYU student views of Civil Rights), was Stirling’s thoughtful consideration of race in Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine. In the discussion that followed after the presentations, several voices discussed why we continue to have Mormon Doctrine circulating among church members. A variety of reasons for the persistence of that text were proposed, not least the fact that the author is now dead and unable to edit out the offensive material for a revised edition and that the book is one of the best sellers for Deseret Book. As I reflected on the conversation, I wonder about the following proposal:
Issue a gently revised, highly abridged version of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. It would need to be one volume, would need to be written in easy to understand language, would need to cover the topics that Mormon doctrine covers and would need to bear a title like LDS Doctrines, or Doctrines of the Restoration, or equivalent.
What do people think? Is this a possible solution to the persistence of that highly problematic book?