There is an analogy that the Gospel and Church (capital C) are like an orange. The flesh of the orange is the Gospel, God, and his goodness. The skin (peal) is the Church, the administration, the human interface to God. Both of these are needed, but in proper proportions. If the skin is too thick, it takes away from the flesh, giving you little fruit to eat. If the peal is too thin, the flesh can dry out and be pithy.

Elder Poelman of the 70 gave a very famous talk in Oct 1984 General Conference where he advocated for a direct way to worship God that minimized the church (less skin, more flesh). For whatever reason (the Church never said why) Poelman re-wrote his talk, and re-recorded the video, giving the orange more skin.

This has been an age old battle from the beginning of the Christian/Judaeo religion. The Pentateuch (the first five books of the bible) is generally recognized to be compiled from multiple sources. Two sources are labled for the names they use for God, Elohim (E) and Yahweh or Jehovah (J). The third source is called P for Priestly, as it is thought the source for this was a priest like Aaron, or as biblical scholars say, an Aaronid priest.

The P parts of the bible generally reflects a very thick skin on the orange. If you have sinned and want to be forgiven, you need to bring a sacrifice to the priest at the Tabernacle. All interaction with deity required a priest as an intermediary.

J and E talk mostly talk of a merciful God that can be addressed directly. They talk of a God that is gracious, long-forbearing, and full of faithfulness and truth. P never uses the words mercy, grace and repent. In fact, if you just read the J and E parts of the bible, you don’t need priests to gain salvation. No skin on the orange, just flesh!

I’m sure you can see the similarity to the current LDS church and its leadership. There is a subtle friction between the E/J factions that talk of grace, and the P faction that requires justice, and that can only be gained through the church and its leaders. This also extends to our local leaders, some are E/J, and some are P.

What examples have you seen in your ward? Does your ward leadership have a thick or thin skin approach to guiding its members? What about the Q15?