I wanted to digress more into this when writing the science/religion post, so I decided to do a post on it, a short one.
Because it doesn’t really require that much room to say, that I don’t see that Orthodoxy is such a big deal for Mormons at all. For some, but certainly when I think of the baptismal interview (which you an read about in the Preach My Gospel available at the Church Web site if you’re interested), or the temple recommend interview, the requirement for Orthodoxy is quite low in the LDS tradition.
In the interviews, you are asked if you believe in what the first Article of Faith says we believe in, i.e. God the Eternal Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, and if you believe that remission of sins comes only in and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If the answer is “yes” the interviewer goes on to ask if you have a witness from the Spirit of the Restoration, and of modern prophets and their keys (that Thomas S. Monson is currently the one on earth who holds all the keys). That means basically that we say we’re committed to the restored gospel, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its order.
Then, you move on to Orthopraxy, i.e. “correct practice”, or do you obey the Word of Wisdom, give full tithe. Money per se is never discussed, never has been with me since LURBS came up; until then we did discuss with my Bishop my ability to support the ward’s activity financially, but when the Church got to be financially in the situation that made it possible—tithing was about enough to cover the maintenance costs—we weren’t expected to spend money to be active in the Church.
Also, I’ve never heard that anyone’s “gotten in trouble with the hierarchy” because they’ve not believed in some theological construct—for teaching some speculative doctrines as Church doctrine, yes, and there’s a distinction there. I don’t know nearly enough about all the infamous persecuted professors of BYU or whatever to judge anyone, just that all cases I’ve been able to study have turned out like I said.
Neither do I know of anyone who’s been excommunicated for minor infractions of things like Word of Wisdom; such stuff is up to you, but naturally if you wish to partake of the blessings of the Temple, you’ll want to abide by them. If you try to have it both ways (have another foot in Babylon because you need to “let your hair down for a while” every now and then), it won’t work in the long run.
I admit it frankly: It’s not a piece of cake to be a disciple of Christ. I try to be, but there are many distractions that are taxing my ability to express the kind of love that would require. As a human I’m weak. Thus, I am struggling forward, “continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of [my] faith” (Moro 6:4)
Perhaps our lay ministry has so far saved us from too much arrogant bloviation from the top. Yes, there have been some General Conference talks in the past, that make me cringe, but they’ve not been given in arrogance. Rather, it’s been honest ignorance. There’s a difference. And that there are no creeds that would circumscribe what God can be and do is often used as a “blunt instrument” to inflict spiritual of physical damage. I can’t see myself casting stones on someone who disputes the historicity of the Book of Mormon.