Craig Harline explains perhaps the most valuable and fundamental benefit of studying history is the insight it can offer into change, including change that people once thought would never occur. What can be learned from such changes by people of the present, as they argue about potential changes in their own world? Harline offers historical examples of change in Western Christianity regarding acceptable views of language, left-handedness, sacred music, slavery, interracial relations, and usury, and viewing them in the context of changes still being heavily or somewhat debated by Christians, such as women's role, evolution, and more. He shows that it's no simple thing to declare one set of changes superior to another. Harline turns to Spencer Kimball, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who was willing to consider a change and seek revelation concerning the practice regarding blacks holding the priesthood, as a moving example of the humility required to reflect on things that we may consider to be unchangeable.
The article "What Happened to My Bell-Bottoms?" by Craig Harline was originally the annual Martin B. Hickman lecture, given at BYU on March 14, 2013. Watch the video here.