What happens when you get a steady diet of milk

Most Mormons are familiar with the idea of teaching “milk before meat,” meaning that the basics of the gospel must be preached and understood before you can move on to the deeper doctrines (“meat”) of the gospel.

Many people in and out of the church have noted that for many years, church manuals and leaders’ addresses have focused exclusively on the milk. Our lesson manuals, for one, avoid the thornier issues; see, for example, the injunction in the Gospel Doctrine manual to avoid discussing polygamy when studying Doctrine and Covenants 132, which is largely about polygamy. Similarly, late church president Gordon B. Hinckley caused a bit of a stir when on national television he downplayed a core doctrine (the potential of humans to become like God), stating merely, “I don’t know that we teach it.”

I understand why they do this. Since 1970, the church has sought to control the content of its publications through a process called “correlation,” whereby all materials must be reviewed by a committee to ensure they are in line with established church doctrine. This process has indeed put a stop to the publishing of embarrassing statements through official channels, but it has had an unintended consequence.

People in the church know that the prophets used to be quite bold in declaring meat from the pulpit, and they wonder why such is not happening today. Into the vacuum of deep, dark mysteries step the conspiracy theorists, the religious fanatics, and the self-proclaimed prophets. I ran across one such group today, who call themselves “A Voice of Warning.”

These folks believe that “in the very near future (within a few years perhaps) there will probably come a call from the Prophet of the Church (the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve), through the proper priesthood channels, to the members of the Church to voluntarily gather to tent cities that will be primarily located in and around the Rocky Mountains.”

Why, you might ask, do they believe this in the absence of any suggestion whatsoever from church leaders that such a day is coming? The answer lies in the idea of milk before meat.

Why aren’t the brethren teaching about tent cities[?] I cannot speak for them, but may I suggest the point that the key to favorably responding to a call to a tent city, perhaps when there is no other reason than faith and obedience, will not happen unless the Church members are obeying the basics, referred to as the milk of the gospel.

You have to admire someone’s having a strong enough conviction to suggest that the reason that their own personal hobbyhorses aren’t being taught by prophets and apostles is that the rest of the church isn’t ready for such “meat.”

It’s ironic that the church’s efforts to rein in such speculation has in some ways encouraged it, although the church has been successful in pushing such stuff to the fringes.

I’m not too worried either way. I have a nice twelve-person tent in my garage.


4 Responses to What happens when you get a steady diet of milk

  1. Ray Agostini says:

    People in the church know that the prophets used to be quite bold in declaring meat from the pulpit, and they wonder why such is not happening today.

    An interesting observation comes from Orson Pratt’s speeches. In the c.1870s-80s Pratt made two claims in General Conferences, recorded in the Journal of Discourses, both of which were contingent on prophetic revelation. The first was his firm belief that hard [archaeological] evidence for the Book of Mormon would “soon” emerge, and if it didn’t, then the Book of Mormon could not be true. The second was in regard to a temple being built in Missouri “in this generation”, as per D&C 84:

    2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
    3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
    4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
    5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.

    As is obvious, the emphasis on both was dropped, but Pratt took it literally. His emphasis on the latter was particularly strong, and for him “this generation” had an unequivocal meaning.

  2. What happens when you get a steady diet of milk? You run the risk of becoming lactose intolerant! 😉

    Sorry…couldn’t resist. LOL

  3. sideon says:

    Add a few bananas and ice cream, blend on high for 15 seconds, pour in a frosted glass and add a cherry on top.


    Mormonism capitalizes on human behavior – if you could go straight to desert before dinner… wouldn’t you?

    Runtu, your tent sounds like the Taj Mahal!

  4. Better yet, add a little Kaluah to that cream! 😉

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