7 Things Mormons Adopted, Then Abandoned

Some Things in the LDS Church Can and Do Change!

Most news media reporters do not understand Mormons and their LDS faith well enough to report on some issues accurately.

Outsiders often posit that certain LDS views, or LDS practices, will likely change in the future. These claims are often inaccurate. Doctrine cannot change, but policy and procedure can. What is more, personal opinion means little when we have revealed doctrine through living prophets.

There have been numerous experiments and programs that have been adopted, but later abandoned. The Church is dynamic and changing. The examples below are illustrations of some of these changes.

If you have an idea to add to this list, let me know! Send me an email at: ldsaboutguide@gmail.com

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Mormon polygamy prisoners pose for picture
George Q. Cannon and other Church members were arrested for practicing polygamy. Photo courtesy of © 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Much of the secular world thinks Mormons still practice polygamy. This can stem from their inability to determine the difference between FLDS and LDS.

Mormons did practice polygamy, possibly as early as the 1830s. However, that practice officially ended in 1890. Abandoning it was necessary in order for Utah to be granted statehood.

More accurately termed plural marriage, the authority and power to perform such marriages no longer exists.  As a result, plural marriage in the Church cannot exist at this time.

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Law of Consecration

Brigham Young when old
Brigham Young, 2nd President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Brigham Young, 2nd President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . Photo courtesy of © 2015 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The law of consecration cannot be easily explained. Think of it as an economic and social system where members voluntarily devote all their time, money and other resources to building up the kingdom of God. In return, they have sufficient for their personal and family needs and wants.

Brigham Young attempted to have the early Church live this divine law. These efforts were called the United Order. Success was mixed. Ultimately, it had to be abandoned.

Modern LDS members still view it as a divine law and look forward to living it sometime in the future.

We believe the law of consecration was in force in the city of Enoch, in the early church after Christ was resurrected, in the Nephite civilization after Christ visited the Americas and during Brigham Young's time as prophet and president of the Church.

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Ban on Blacks Receiving the Priesthood

Black LDS leader
Latter-day Saint leader, Ahmad S. Corbitt. Stake President Corbitt addressing the crowd at the 30 year anniversary of the priesthood revelation. Photo courtesy of © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Members of the black race were denied the power and authority of the priesthood. It also deprived them of temple blessings.

This was reversed in its entirety in 1978. It was a policy and procedural change.

Priesthood authority and temple blessings were denied to blacks during Brigham Young's time as president and prophet. No such ban occurred during Joseph Smith's time. For a full discussion of all this, see the Church's topic page on Race and the Priesthood.

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Indian Placement Program

native american boy
Latter-day Saint Jacob Conklin dances in his Native American clothing. Photo courtesy of Mormon Newsroom © All rights reserved.

From the 1950s to the 1990s, native American children sometimes spent the school year with foster LDS families, in public schools and where the gospel was firmly established.

It began as an effort to assist them in becoming economically and spiritually self-reliant.

The program dropped off as reservation schools replaced the old boarding schools and sufficient native Americans matured in the gospel.

Elder Boyd K. Packer explained it thus:

The Indian Placement program filled its purpose, and it has been disbanded. And that happens. … We take the scaffolding down when construction is complete.

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LDS Sororities and Fraternities

Smiling college students in a row in classroom
Compassionate Eye Foundation/Chris Ryan / Taxi / Getty Images

Never heard of Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi? You are not alone. This LDS sorority and LDS fraternity were phased out entirely in 2011.

They functioned on college campuses for a time, under the direction of the Institute program. Members of them had the same rights and privileges as other typical Greek college organizations.

Since they were sponsored by the Church, drinking alcohol was not part of the experience.

They ended when the Church merged college wards with single young adult wards. These YSA wards now replace the functions the Greek organizations once served.

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Silk Production

Silk threads, close up, studio shot
Silk threads. sot / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Under Brigham Young's direction, the Deseret Silk Association was established with Zina D. H. Young as its president. The effort was undertaken to help members become self-reliant.

Mulberry trees were brought in and planted. The sister's learned to tend the worms, harvest the silk and make it into fabric.

It was never profitable, but some sisters were able to make beautiful silk garments and accessories for themselves.

The Utah Silk Commission replaced the Church owned Deseret Silk Association. The legislature abandoned funding it, after it was clear that silk production was not possible in Utah on a large scale.

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The Deseret Alphabet

Under Brigham Young's direction, a new way of writing English was developed. This Deseret Alphabet has 38 different symbols and represents all the sounds in English.

Inspired by George D. Watt's proficiency with Pitman shorthand, Young felt it would help newly arrived members learn to read and write English faster and easier.

The Alphabet was used in schools and the Book of Mormon was printed in it.

It fell into disuse because so many nonmembers were settling in the state and no more than a handful of books were ever printed in it.