Though Riskas puts quotation marks around “an abomination before God” as a Mormon attitude about all other faiths, he does not provide a source. Joseph Smith famously did use a different phrase in the 1838 account of his first vision. His actual statement is of a declaration that “all their creeds were an abomination in his sight” (Joseph Smith, History, 19). Having misread the evidence, and therefore, missed the crucial clue, Riskas does not seek out Joseph Smith’s clear explanation of the problem with creeds even though he does list in his bibliography the source where I first read it, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith opposed creeds, not because they are false teachings (“all of them have some truth”), but because “creeds set up stakes, and say, ‘Hitherto thou shalt come, and no further’; which I cannot subscribe to.”55 Joseph Smith also explained that “the most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter-day Saints and sectarians was that the latter were all circumscribed by some particular creed, which deprived its members of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter-day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.”56 The real problem with creeds is not their content57 but their function. When in place, creeds place a person and a society beyond repentance, beyond change. Creeds box a person in and throw away the keys to further light and knowledge. If that is not abominable, what is?
Thus Kevin Christensen.
Also a warning against developing creeds of our own.
I had a stake president a few years ago who came up with a “Mission of the Aaronic Priesthood” based on some talk by some General Authority in some Conference. It had a lot of good stuff in it about preparing for a mission and the temple and getting a good education and respecting women. Nevertheless, it always troubled me that he had the entire Priesthood in every unit in his stake recite the thing every Sunday in Priesthood opening exercises. Christensen has nicely articulated the danger with this kind of thing, however well-meaning.
The practice was quietly dropped almost at once when a new stake president was called.I am grateful.