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ISBN ### Doctrine vs. Culture

ISBN 978-0-8070-7726-9

Eboo Patel's first love, a high school relationship described early in the book, was with an LDS girl named Lisa. He writes, "I still don't know how Mormon theology regards true believers of other faiths. That moment with Lisa taught me a lasting lesson about the sociology of religion: the heart of even the most ardent religious believer will provide more accurate clues to his or her behavior than the theology of his or her faith." Doctrine versus culture. Or in his words, theology versus behavior. I could write for days and days on this topic and my friends are probably sick of me harping on it; but it took years of angst and screaming into the wind for me to boil down the disconnect I observe to: doctrine versus culture.

For only a few examples of this dichotomy: LDS doctrine teaches, "All things which come of the earth are to be used with judgment..." (Doctrine & Covenants 58) and yet how many tree-hugging environmentalists do you find in the mainstream church? LDS doctrine teaches that members of the faith are to "Sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but to all people. Lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation of peace unto the ends of the earth..." (Doctrine & Covenants 105) and yet the approval rating for President Bush and the Iraq war are astronomically high in Utah, the DOJ torture memos were written by LDS men, Romney (God help us) wants to double the capacity of Guantanamo, etc.

On one hand is found the theology of the faith and on the other hand is found is the heart of each believer. It is the heart which dictates action more so than the theology. Gordon B. Hinckley can stand at the pulpit and preach love and equality among all people of the earth, telling LDS people to be "kinder and better" until he's blue in the face, but unless each individual heart of each individual member of the faith turns that council into action...it makes no difference.

I am not about to claim that I live in perfect harmony with all doctrine of the LDS faith. I don't. I am claiming that many people exist in a cultural universe unrecognizable to the doctrine. Many times I wonder if we read from the same copy of the Book of Mormon. I can be cheeky or even snarky about this hypocritical disconnect but the truth is that at the end of the day it makes me really sad.

ISBN ### My Legs Are Praying

ISBN ### Inner Coherence