I posted this at Mormon Matters, but since I am not there any more, I wanted to preserve this on my blog. I loved Greg Prince’s biography of David O McKay. Under the McKay Administration, correlation of LDS church materials made a great deal of headway. While correlation has cut down on duplication of church materials, it has become a bit unwieldy. I found a quote by Paul Dunn that discussed how correlation has had some unintended side effects, and he likened these problems to the Supreme Court. We are all familiar with “legislating from the bench”, and there seems to be a similar problem with correlation. Paul Dunn gave an interview in 1995 and said on page 158,
I think what happened is what’s happening in government today, as I see it now, thirty years later. For example, the Supreme Court is supposed to determine the constitutionality of a law, but very gradually, the Supreme Court starts to make the law. That’s what is happening to correlation. Correlation creates nothing. That’s the process. It has no authority to make a statement that creates a position or direction. That’s totally out of harmony with what President McKay set up. Brother Lee understood that, and carried it out. Since the 1970s, I’ve seen the drift, where correlation is now telling me, if I write something to get through correlation, “You can’t say that.” And I write back and say, “Why?” And they say, “Well, because we think this is the interpretation.” And I write back and say, “You’re not the interpreter.”â€¦And that’s where we got lost. Today, I see correlation, like the Supreme Court, becoming more and more the originator of the thought, rather than the coordinator of the thoughtâ€¦.So, while I think correlation is good, I think it’s gone past its original commission.
I think one of the reasons why the church has decided to focus on “the basics” is because it is the “safe” thing to do. Correlation doesn’t want to deal with controversial theology. It seems to me that Correlation is all about “dumbing down” the curriculum, because it is easier to deal with. It is much harder to deal with controversial comments from previous leaders. So, in order to be safe, correlation removes such hard to explain topics. (I mean, who can really argue about the need to pray more, read the scriptures, do service, etc?) Hence, spiritual growth isn’t nearly as vibrant as it used to be. Only milk is served, without meat, causing spiritual malnutrition.
So, what do you make of Correlation? Do Paul Dunn’s comments bother you? Is Correlation too much of a good thing? Do you think Correlation can ever be restrained, or reversed?