Who is Correlation?

I’m being serious here, and trying not to be cynical. We hear so much about “Correlation” in the ‘nacle, but I honestly have no idea who these people are, how they’re chosen, and how the group functions. My hunch is that most of us are in the same boat. Perhaps my/our ignorance works well from our perspective because it’s easier to be critical of an organization/committee that is impersonal, and has an ambiguous relationship within the structure of authority of the Church. Perhaps this ignorance also works well from the perspective of the Committee because they can do what they do in a “granite tower” of sorts without having to deal with the larger body of saints.

In all seriousness though, does anyone have any insight into this committee? Who is on it? How does one come to be a part of it? What is the structure of the committee? How do they decide what material is fit and what material is unfit for the Church? 

Perhaps there have been posts on this in the past that would be helpful?

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com Nitsav

    I believe there are actually two committees. There’s one that does CES materials and one that goes more general Church materials.

    Edit: I’ve heard some 2nd and 3rd hand stories from reliable sources about some events and people involved, but nothing solid.

  • http://mormoninquiry.typepad.com Dave

    Mormon Matters went fishing on this a couple of months ago but didn’t catch anything: “Who Are Those Guys?

  • http://weightermatters.blogspot.com AHLDuke

    I have heard unconfirmed rumors that some BYU Religion faculty are on Correlation. The specific faculty member I heard of was Robert Millett. Not too surprising, I guess. Like I said, unconfirmed, but highly plausible in my mind.

    I suspect that most members of the Church have no idea that Church manuals do not come straight out of the mouths of the FP and Q12. The anonymity of Correlation also insulates it from wider criticism (wider than the ‘nacle anyway).

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com Nitsav

    Correlation doesn’t do writing, to my knowledge. (At least, not primarily.) They just vet everything that goes through.

  • anonymous
  • CE

    AHLDuke (#3) said “the anomnity of Correlation also insulates it from wider criticism.”

    Perhaps the Correlation Committee’s anomnity actually allows more criticism. Some might be less inclined to criticize correlation if we were to find out that one or more apostles oversee the committee, or participate in its functions, or that the committee’s screening criteria are written by the First Presidency. Such information would make Correlation’s functions seem much more official than if it were merely administered by, say, the BYU religion department.

  • LiberalSlayer

    Interesting idea CE.
    However, watching some of the irreverent behavior on live GC blogs reacting to Apostles teaching (i.e. PeterLCC on BCC re: Elder Oaks/Holland instructing the priesthood to wear white shirts while officiating in priesthood ordinances) I highly doubt it. It may be fairly merciful to reduce the knowledge of the committee to reduce “speaking against the Lord’s anointed.”

    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2008/10/general-conference-sunday-afternoon-open-thread/#comments
    Comment 255.

  • http://nathanbriscoe.wordpress.com/ nathanbriscoe

    Yes indeed–I would also like to know who is behind these things

  • 2nd of the 3 Nephites

    OK, I’m ready to fess up. The other two Nephites and I sit on the Correlation committee along with Sheri Dew and that guy to runs nothingwavering.org

  • http://www.bycommonconsent.com Steve Evans

    yawn, LS.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com John C.

    LS,
    While we do like to encourage comments, we don’t want to become a clearinghouse for comments on threads elsewhere. Please don’t continue in this vein.

  • LiberalSlayer

    Can you explain what you mean by clearinghouse for me John?

  • zionssuburb

    I met Bro. Woodford’s son about 8 or 9 years ago, he mentioned that his dad was on the committee, that seems like a pretty long tenure.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    Mormon Matters went fishing on this a couple of months ago…

    Post #22 on the Strengthening Church Members Committee is worth reading.

    Are you looking for names?

    Yes, names, or answers to any of the questions in the initial post.

    I found this interesting on the Janet Peterson link: “Janet Peterson currently serves on the Church Correlation Committee (Materials Evaluation).”

    Does this mean that, as Nistav alludes to, there are multiple departments or sub-committees that comprise the Correlation Committee? Also, does “serves” mean that the position is a calling in the Church and not an occupation?

    Perhaps the Correlation Committee’s anomnity actually allows more criticism.

    Maybe I wasn’t clear in my original post, but one of the reasons I think we know so little about the Correlation Committee, despite it’s importance, is that this ambiguity serves both parties–we can criticize them without having to attach the criticism to actual people or challenging the authority of specific “brethren”; and they can filter or create material without having to respond to the criticism. That said, I’m sure there are other, more practical reasons for our lack of knowledge regarding the Correlation Committee.

    One another related note, does the fact that people publicly announce their membership on the Committee mean that it really isn’t a secret at all, and perhaps our (not alluding to anyone in particular) attempts to depict it as such really reveal a desire to see it as secret, thereby giving us more fuel for criticism?

    It may be fairly merciful to reduce the knowledge of the committee to reduce “speaking against the Lord’s anointed.”

    I’m not quite sure what this means.

  • LiberalSlayer

    SmallAxe,
    The specific example that I included showed

    Brother A says: We should do such and such.
    Commenter B says: People who say “we should do such and such” have stopped following the Savior.”
    If Brother A is one of the apostles, and he was speaking as part of his calling, I consider Commenter B’s comments “speaking against the Lord’s annointed.”

    Now if instead, we have a non-name-specific organization that “authorizes” specific writings, say, an ensign article that says, “We should do such and such.” and Commenter B then says, “People who say we should do such and such have stopped following the Savior,” while still a not very intelligent thing to do, does not specifically fight against Brother A, but against a non-named entity.

    The reason I includedd this example, was someone suggested that having anonymity in the correlation committee insulates it from criticism. I was trying to suggest (however poorly) that not knowing specifically who is involved in correlation mercifully allows the rebellious to be upset with an anonymous committee without necessarily being rebellious against someone in a specific calling.

    I hope that clarified a little bit.
    FWIW, John C, I was trying to be specific. I can’t stand when people claim an anecdote, and then someone else says, “No that’s not possible.” Such an excuse is not possible if one includes a relevant and a specific, timely example. If I could get a simple explaination of what it means to “clearinghouse” I would be glad to abide by the rules, but it’ll be easier when I understand what they are. Thanks in advance.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.wordpress.com SmallAxe

    The reason I includedd this example, was someone suggested that having anonymity in the correlation committee insulates it from criticism. I was trying to suggest (however poorly) that not knowing specifically who is involved in correlation mercifully allows the rebellious to be upset with an anonymous committee without necessarily being rebellious against someone in a specific calling.

    I see, and I hope you can tell from my earlier comment that I agree (except I don’t think I’d use the word “rebellious”, as I think there is room to disagree tactfully).

    If I could get a simple explaination of what it means to “clearinghouse” I would be glad to abide by the rules, but it’ll be easier when I understand what they are. Thanks in advance.

    A “clearinghouse” refers to a “large random collection”. It’s not cool to link to other blog posts if they are not relevant. Without the elaboration of your last comment, your initial comment seems irrelevant.

  • Justin

    There seem to be multiple entities (committees/subcommittees/divisions) within the Correlation Department. There is the materials evaluation committee/division, and I’ve found an item in the Church News referring to a then-newly called mission president who was a “member of the Media Evaluation Committee for the Correlation Department.”

    An article published in the Church News in December 2007 featured a byline indicating that Max Molgard “is the associate director of the evaluation division of the Correlation Department.”

    FWIW (it may be outdated information), the Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry entitled “Contemporary Church Organization” states:

    The Council of the Twelve is presently organized into four executive groups—the Correlation Executive Committee composed of the Council of the Twelve’s three most senior apostles; the Missionary Executive Council; the Priesthood Executive Council; and the Temple and Family History Executive Council.

    The Correlation Executive Council reviews the work of the three other councils. It also directs the Correlation Department, which evaluates manuals and other materials disseminated to the membership of the Church and conducts research for the General Authorities (see Correlation). The Evaluation Division of the Correlation Department includes lay-member committees responsible for reviewing all Church materials, research, and the translation of materials.

  • smallaxe

    Thanks Justin.

  • merkat

    definitely gene r. jensen of the 70, i think that’s his name. he spoke in our stake conf. and was all about correlation

  • merkat

    that would be jay jensen

  • smallaxe

    he spoke in our stake conf. and was all about correlation

    What did he say about it?

  • LiberalSlayer

    SmallAxe and John C.
    I understand what you mean now and will try and include enough information to make the point relevant. Thank you.

    BTW, is there a difference between SmallAxe and smallaxe?

  • http://mormonwasp.wordpress.com/ Justin

    The Rel Ed bios for Andrew Skinner and Stanley Johnson indicate that they serve on correlation committees.

  • smallaxe

    BTW, is there a difference between SmallAxe and smallaxe?

    No. When I’m logged in to WordPress it comes out at ‘smallaxe’, but occasionally I post from a different computer.

  • Gerald Faerber

    Boyd K Packer in his coordinating coucil talk May 18, 1993 confirms the 3 senior apostles comprise the correlation council executive committee.
    “The Council of the Twelve Apostles is the Correlation Committee, with the President of the Twelve and the two senior members acting as the executive committee.”

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