From the Church

Why does Church policy change? ‘Liahona’ article discusses

Majestic Tree With Roots
Just a tree receives life through its roots, gospel doctrine is rooted in the Godhead.
Getty Images

This week’s Come, Follow Me lesson includes Official Declarations 1 and 2, which outline fairly substantial policy changes that took place within the Church, including the termination of plural marriage and the removal of racial restrictions that once applied to the priesthood.

In the following article, published in the December 2021 Liahona magazine, the question of why Church policy changes from time to time is addressed.

In the last 200 years, the Lord has revealed many truths to His prophets. Some revelations lead to policy changes, such as those found in the Official Declarations. Adjustments are a natural part of the true and living Church. However, doctrine—the foundational, eternal truths of the gospel—never changes. This visual helps us see the relationship between Church policy and doctrine.

Just as the roots are the means by which a tree receives life, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost give spiritual life to the plan of salvation. The gospel, revelation, and the priesthood come from the Godhead.

Gospel doctrine is eternal and unchanging and comes from the Godhead. The doctrine informs Church policies and practices.

Church policy is guided by doctrine but is subject to adjustments, as revealed by the Lord to His prophet. Like the branches of a tree, policy “grows” or adjusts as guided by doctrine and by revelation. While still inspired, policy is not eternal like Church doctrine.

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