What Is Official Mormonism?
Dr. Andrew Jackson
So how does a researcher and writer actually discover the official teaching and practices of the LDS Church? In my case, I decided to lean on the following statements made by Dr. Stephen Robinson and Dr. Robert Millet:
The only binding sources of doctrine for Latter-day Saints are the Standard Works of the church: the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. The only official interpretations and applications of these doctrinal sources are those that come to the church over the signatures of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (collectively). All the rest is commentary.
The declaration, clarification, and interpretation of doctrine for the church as a whole rest with the presiding councils of the church, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Mormon teaching and practices today are based primarily in the continual divine revelations and interpretations of the LDS President and Prophet and other top apostles, and only secondarily in Mormonism’s four written scriptural books that consist of the Bible (King James Version only), Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.
In Mormonism, all contemporary experiences of revelation and interpretation by the LDS President and Prophet surpass all past written records of revelation in authority, including the Bible. In the Mormon mind, what God communicated in the past—even if identified as Holy Scripture—is always secondary to what God is saying to ordained Mormon apostles and prophets today.
What about the Bible? Although Mormonism values the Bible, the LDS Church also states that the Bible has been corrupted, contains errors, and is missing many plain and precious truths concerning salvation.8 As a result, within Mormonism the Bible is functionally subordinate and subject to clarification and revision by the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.