The First Council of Nicea, fresco, Basilica of St. Nicholas in modern Demre, Turkey

For over a century, Latter-day Saints have had their mental map of the gospel selectively edited by committees appointed specifically for that purpose. The majority of this work has been reductive, with doctrines and concepts being removed until what remained seemed like a more or less cohesive and coherent system. In 1921, for instance, a committee removed an entire book of scripture from our canon by fiat; so, 100 years later, the Lectures on Faith and their saving doctrines are effectively absent from Latter-day Saint discourse and practice. Daymon Smith, drawing on his dissertation research, tells of a meeting between then-Apostle Harold B. Lee and members of his relatively new Correlation Committee:

Daymon: …During this meeting, they took 72 note cards on which they wrote important “ideas.”

Brad: Abstract principles, abstract nouns.

Daymon: “Faith,” “repentance,” “obedience,” these kinds of abstractions—he organizes them on a wall in his office. This organization becomes a kind of representation of the mind of God and of the mind of the Ideal Mormon. They’re supposed to have these ideas in their head hierarchically organized.

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