Correlation Program

Priesthood Correlation Program

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Priesthood Correlation Program (also called the Correlation Program or simply Correlation) is a program designed to provide a systematic approach to maintain consistency in its ordinances, doctrines, organizations, meetings, materials, and other programs and activities. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized according to priesthood function, and correlation provides support to the priesthood quorums, thereby improving communication and leadership, and keeping unorthodox information, doctrines and other undesired concepts from being introduced.

Background and history

In the LDS Church, all organizations and activities are intended to complement the mission of the church and are considered subject to the priesthood, helping to complete its responsibilities.

Before the correlation movement, the various organizations and auxiliaries of the church, including the Relief Society, the Primary, Sunday School, the welfare program, genealogy programs and the Young Men and Young Women Organizations were largely under the direction of the stake or ward, and curriculum could vary from ward to ward. Formal organization of a Correlation Committee occurred in 1908. As part of the correlation program, these organizations were elevated to a general church level, under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Further reorganization occurred during the early 1960s, and in 1972 the Correlation Department was established, adding responsibility for all printed materials and programs.

Doctrines and structure

Between the 1920s and early 1960s, there was an increase in printed material available to LDS Church members, much of which contained opinions or quotes of church leaders that contradicted the official positions and doctrines of the church. In addition, historical documents surfaced, were made available or printed from early members diaries which did not support the official church history.

Because of this sudden increase of information, a number of doctrines formed that deviated from standard church doctrine. For example, in the late 1950s, there was a sudden interest in the Adam-God theory and the doctrine of blood atonement, which were popularly taught in the 19th century, but which were since repudiated. Another popular doctrine that surfaced in the late 1950s was the teaching that sons of perdition may have a second chance for redemption in another life. In the 1960s, there were many non-canonical Latter-day Saint perceptions making rounds in local church meetings, largely due to the publication of Mormon Doctrine. See Mormon Doctrine for a discussion of these teachings.

To counter this, the Correlation Committee, under the direction of the First Presidency, began to print materials and other curriculum to clarify and standardize what the church hierarchy considered to be official doctrine and history. As a result, some believe that since the 1960s the Church has "watered itself down," removing some of the more colorful, popular, and distinctive doctrines and circumventing much of the church's early history. On the other hand, some members are much more comfortable with, and inspired by, a standard set of doctrines and history in which most of the inconsistencies and eccentricities have been rejected as non-canonical.

Another result is the block program, which standardized Sunday as the official day to hold most public church meetings. Prior to the 1980s, meetings were held throughout the week. For example, in a local ward, the Relief Society may have met on Monday mornings, Primary and choir practice on Tuesdays, Young Women and Young Men on Thursdays, ward activities and events on Fridays, and service projects on Saturdays. Because of the church's focus on families, the Correlation Committee recommended a three-hour block of meetings on Sundays that would include a sacrament meeting, Sunday School, priesthood meetings, Relief Society and children's classes. This would allow families to spend more time together, and for parents and children to be more involved with their communities.

In addition, due to a more centralized structure, local building funds and ward budgets were centralized by the Church, easing the contributions of local members for such funds, and allowing for a more equitable distribution of funds. Prior to this, wealthier church areas tended to have better-funded buildings and activities than poorer areas.

Results and curriculum

Because of the correlation program, the church generally operates the same in structure, practice and doctrine globally. For example, members in Germany, Kenya and Utah all study the same lessons and attend the same type of meetings in any given week.

Currently there are two curriculum tracks for members; one for areas where the church is fully established in wards and stakes, and another for areas where the church is growing and in small numbers. The doctrines taught are the same; however, the emphasis on principles, church structure and church culture is more emphasized in fledgling areas, while emphasis in established areas focuses more on application of the principles taught.

See also

References and notes

  • Latter-Day Saint Social Life: Social Research on the LDS Church and Its Members, edited by James Duke, ISBN 1-57008-396-7

External links

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