I served a mission back when the commitment pattern was king. Prepare–Identify–Invite–Follow Up; those were the rules of the game. If we could get investigators to make and keep commitments, they would feel the spirit and ultimately receive a testimony of the gospel.
I’m wondering though, what this tells us about the role of doctrine (loosely defined) in the conversion experience. Does doctrine serve a functional role, where it is a means to an end? Is the value of doctrine, perhaps, more in its ability to bring about a particular result, rather than in its systematicity? To make it more concrete, the way I viewed “teaching the gospel” in light of the commitment pattern was not so much in getting people to understand the gospel as a comprehensive theology, as much as it was to get them to take action and experience the gospel for themselves.
My hunch is that the value of things such as the BoM is not so much in its ability to present a coherent argument for a certain ideology, as much as it is in its capacity to generate a conversion experience. It’s a raft of sorts, meant to get us to the other shore, and not to be mistaken for that shore itself.