This thing takes a gospel topic and dumbs it way down so that the most idiotic person in the whole world is left without the excuse that the “gospel is too hard to understand.” Unfortunately, by dumbing it down, you can’t really call what is expressed “the gospel.” It is more like a semblance of the gospel. The GS is in the vein of the PlainBookofMormon, which takes the Book of Mormon (which is already plain) and puts it into eighth grade language so that eighth graders can understand it. (I had no idea eighth graders were now retarded and didn’t know how to read plain English.) Unlike its predecessors (the TG, BD and Index), the GS makes no disclaimer.
Each reference is preceded by a short quotation or summary of the scripture
“This alphabetical listing of gospel topics defines selected doctrines, principles snap the link right now, people, and places found in the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. It also provides key scriptural references for you to study for each topic and can help you in your individual and family study of the scriptures. It can help you answer questions about the gospel, study topics in the scriptures, prepare talks and lessons, and increase your knowledge and testimony of the gospel.
Its opening paragraphs actually intimate that it is official:
“Each entry gives a short definition of the topic and provides the most significant scriptural references about that topic. The scriptural references appear in the following order: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.”
Although it carries itself with official weight, the only official church doctrine is found in the standard works (the scriptures themselves) and the only official scriptural interpretations are given by First Presidency Statements. The GS, however, has no listed author(s) and since we don’t know who wrote it, it should be ripped out of every edition and tossed right into the trash. In every aspect, both in its definitions, its limited scope, and its arrogance in proclaiming that it “provides the most significant scriptural references” about a topic, as well as its fascade of officialdom (only the LDS people themselves decide what is official church doctrine, by canonization vote, through the law of common consent) and its conciseness to the point of saying almost nothing, the GS is a monstrosity that has attached itself like a leech to every modern edition of our scriptures, to the detriment of the unsuspecting new convert. (Can you tell that I don’t like the GS?) ??
Unfortunately, the dumbing down of doctrinal explanations appears to be the new pattern of the latter-days. I do not blame the GA’s for this new trend, though. Apparently, people are getting dumber as time goes on and their attention spans are getting shorter. We are losing the ability to think and perform tasks that were routine just a ple, most kids today in public school can’t read or write cursive. As if that were bad enough, a recent study showed that only 12 percent of teachers have taken a course on how to teach handwriting. So, as the newer generations become more stupid and mentally dense, it may be necessary to paraphrase the doctrines of the scriptures in a way that even their clouded, vapid minds can comprehend.
The danger, though, of including these watered-down versions of doctrine in the standard works editions is that the mentally lazy LDS will also grab a hold of them and use them as “the standard,” instead of the scriptures themselves.