How can I know if something I hear is ‘official doctrine’?
February 2017

“How can I know if something I hear is ‘official doctrine’?” New Era, February 2017

How can I know if something I hear is “official doctrine”?

This question can sometimes take some work to answer, but you have the tools to do it. If you wonder if a statement is official doctrine, try to find out where it came from. Is the idea in the scriptures? Has it been taught by the living prophets and apostles? Has it recently been officially published by the Church (such as in general conference, manuals, magazines, and Church websites)? If the answer to each of these questions is no, you can probably safely conclude that it’s not official doctrine.

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, don’t stop there. Keep comparing the statement to the scriptures and other official sources. For instance, don’t assume that a statement made one time by a past or current Church leader is official Church doctrine. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has given us a good rule of thumb on this: “The doctrine [of the Church] is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find” (Oct. 2012 general conference).