There’s a cultural evolution taking place inside of Mormonism.
The evolution of church culture has been something that has needed to happen for a long time. Culture, traditions, oral laws, and the status quo can be a good thing…but it can also be a bad thing.
Do you remember what was happening in Israel around the time that Christ came on to the scene? Israel started to live by their own set of oral laws and traditions, or what we might refer to today as “culture”. The “culture” in Israel when Christ showed up was one of the most judgmental and hypocritical cultures the world had ever seen. It was a very isolated and unaccepting culture.
But Christ showed up and cast a net over all types of people: the Greeks, the Romans, the Samaritans, and every other nation across the globe. His net covered even the worst of repentant sinners. The only people that were excluded or “damned” were the unrepentant elite, the “scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” who “strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:23-24).
Christ took the existing covenants and commandments and simplified them. He brought an evolution of love, empathy, and compassion. He built a culture that was geared toward the lowly of heart and revolted against those who spent their lives pointing out the flaws in others. “For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). The bulk of Israel was living according to their culture and their superstition instead of their religion.
This has been the bane of each and every covenant society, which caused Joseph Smith to say, “What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down.” The doctrine of the LDS church doesn’t lose people. It’s the culture and superstition that cause unnecessary strife.