Good ole gramps,
My question for you is what constitutes as doctrine in the LDS church? I have been searching for statements by the brethren and haven’t been able to find anything concrete. I know that the prophets and apostles each have their own opinions on certain topics, and that not everything they say is “doctrine.” But would we qualify everything that is stated in General Conference as doctrine? Official declarations? Anything the first presidency says, including statements about no more cooking in the meeting houses? Any enlightenment would be appreciated.
First we have to separate your idea of doctrine from that of official church policy. Doctrine is those statements/ideas that have pertinence to our spirituality and standing before God. Policy is official statements as to how the church should operate as to temporal things, such as the no cooking in the church issue. I hardly think a temple recommend is in jeapordy if my wife decides it’s easier to cook the roast at the church rather than haul a cooked one from the house.
Now, as to what constitutes doctrine, the vast majority of it is in the Standard Works of the church; the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The next most common source is indeed General Conference. The talks given constitute doctrine for at least the next six months, until the next conference. Many of the talks have stood the test of time, however, and apply as much now as they ever have.
The Official Declarations found in the Doctrine & Covenants are unique in that they represent changes to official doctrine due to revelation. In the first case, an ending of polygamy, and in the second, an extension of the priesthood to all worthy males.
More common in the comments of the First Presidency these days are issues related more to policy rather than doctrine.