In 1984 section 156 accelerated the coming of the Temple. There was no mention of ordinances in the document, but the questions persisted. Those pesky D&C sections were still in the book, albeit in the back. So in 1990 a resolution called for the complete removal of the appendix and it was approved. I voted against.
Markag offers us another perspective on differences between the RLDS and LDS Churches. All Section numbers referenced below are from the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants unless otherwise indicated.
In April 1860, the RLDS officially began with the ordination of Joseph Smith III as its prophet-president. At that time, the most current Book of Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) was September 1844; compiled by Apostle John Taylor, editor of the Times and Seasons in Nauvoo. It contained several sections received later than or not included in the 1835 Kirtland edition, and there was no conference vote approving the additions.
Nevertheless, the RLDS included all the sections in its 1864 edition. The Revelation on celestial/plural marriage was not in the 1844 edition, but 3 documents on the subject of Baptism for the Dead (BftD) were; now found in the LDS D&C as sections 124/127/128.
The RLDS believed in the divine commandment of Temple building, but of the four Temples commissioned by Joseph Smith Jr., one was destroyed (Nauvoo), one was in disrepair (Kirtland), and two unrealized (Independence/Far West). Having a temple was not a priority; their main message was that they were the TRUE Latter Day Saints church as established by Joseph Smith. But no one could deny that Joseph had taught BftD as a doctrine for the church. It was a dilemma, and by 1884 some sort of explanation was needed.
Their Quorum of Twelve issued a conference resolution stating in part “….the commandments of a local character, given to the first organization of the church, are binding on the Reorganization only so far as they are reiterated or referred to as binding by commandment to this church”. The term local character obviously meant teachings from the Nauvoo era. It was unheard of to require a reiteration of prophetic instructions in order to be accepted; and BftD is the only issue ever addressed in this manner. As a result, Jason W. Briggs, president of the RLDS Q12 withdrew from the church with several others, expressing their inability to believe in the doctrine of BftD. Apparently, their position was a outright rejection of the doctrine, leading to the theory of Joseph being a “fallen” prophet. Many echoed that theory, but the RLDS never sanctioned it.
So, for some 80 years, BftD was neither reiterated nor recanted. Occasionally priesthood members/authors would state that once a proper place was built (the Independence temple), BftD would occur. Then at the 1968 conference, prophetic guidance called for the planning of the Temple’s eventual construction at the Center Place. There was one specific detail “….there is no provision for secret ordinances now or ever…” (section 149A). In other words, the temple ordinances as performed by the LDS church would have no place in the RLDS Temple.
Did that close the subject? No, it didn’t. There was still the 3 sections in the D&C concerning BftD (107/109/110). Those sections, as well as the other additions to the 1844 D&C were categorized by the 1970 conference as “items of uncertain authority”. A vote was taken on each section whether to retain it or have it removed to an historical appendix at the back of the book. Of course all 3 sections were removed, and they were no longer part of the canon of scripture.
And me? As an RLDS I had likes/dislikes. I liked being able to participate in the Temple groundbreaking ceremony. I disliked ultra-conservatives protesting the design/location were wrong, and ultra-liberals protesting that the church had more important social issues to spend money on. I liked the prohibiting of alcohol/tobacco on the construction site. I disliked the conference delegate calling sections 107/109/110 “the goofy stuff”. I liked believing the Temple would bring us closer to realizing the New Jerusalem. I dislike members proudly saying “we don’t believe THAT way anymore”.
Next year I will be visiting Independence as an LDS member, thinking what might have been and what may yet occur. What are your thoughts concerning the RLDS de-canonizing revelations on Baptism for the Dead?