Everything was more black and white when I was younger - and I see that in the Church, as well.
Everyone was a convert in the beginning, even Joseph Smith in a very real way, and I believe much of what drives some people nuts about the way that early Church leaders taught things that we no longer teach is no more than the maturation process that is unavoidable in mortality as we learn and grow and realize how much we really don’t know. (or, at least, that I wish was unavoidable - I have known some people and organizations that simply refuse to mature.)
All of you who read this blog probably realize I don’t see our changing understanding over time as a bad thing, but I also should make it crystal clear that I also don’t see any great, seismic shift in the CORE principles and doctrines of the Restoration. We still believe in a Great Apostasy, the restoration of the priesthood that can administer eternally binding ordinances for all of mankind, the reality of multiple prophetic sources and on-going revelation - both collective and personal - in all its messy glory, the centrality of Jesus in the Plan of Salvation as our Savior and Redeemer, the primacy of obedience (fruits) over work-less belief, the importance of establishing and serving in the Kingdom of God on earth, the eternal potential to become like God, and on and on and on. I don’t think we have abandoned - or even altered significantly - any of the Articles of Faith. How we express each of these core principles and doctrines has vacillated from time to time as we struggle to see through our glass less darkly, but the concepts themselves haven’t changed in ways that I would classify as significant.
I think it’s interesting that when I was most active on multiple Mormon-themed blogs I was classified as a skeptical believer on Mormon Matters, a conservative generally on Feminist Mormon Housewives, mostly conservative on By Common Consent and Times & Seasons, simply verbose on Trash Calls, insightful but occasionally heretical on Mormon Momma, a token male at Mormon Mommy Wars, etc. I think I am classified in each case in comparison to the general tone of the blog, which I believe is relevant to this post in an important way.
I don’t really care how I’m classified, since I know I am a “faithful, believing member” - and that’s all that really matters to me. I accept that 20-50 years from now members might read what I have written and agree, disagree, laugh or have any other reaction. My words might be dissected, if anyone even reads them, to prove how wrong the Church is - because someone in my position of local leadership was so badly mistaken; they might be read to show how right the Church is - because someone like me was correct. I have no idea how my words will be used, if they are used at all, but, if they are used at all, I’m fairly certain they will fill both roles - as “proof” that the Church was right by some and wrong by others. That’s just the nature of the human beast.I’m just doing my best to explain (and evaluate) my own muddle in the middle as I make my way through life.