"I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God, but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions..." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p 331; emphasis added). He also said "I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down."
I have heard it said that a white shirt and tie is 'the uniform of the priesthood' (read about the background here). What a great tradition! It sure makes us look more professional and uniform. However, I'm pretty confident that Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Lehi, Peter, Joseph Smith and even Jesus Christ himself NEVER wore a white shirt and tie. This teaching is very similar to the Pharisees. The Savior cursed them for 'making broad their phylacteries'. (Matthew 23:5) The phylactery was an article of clothing that contained the holy writ. Apparently, making it more visible would give the wearer more stature in the eyes of the public.
In Matthew 23:6 He accuses the Pharisees of 'loving the chief seats in the synagogues'. I'm amazed at how much this tradition is loved by men of our age. I've heard constant griping from bishopric members and others about how much they wish they could sit with their families, yet when given the opportunity, they rarely take it. High councilmen and visiting leaders clamor for the opportunity to sit up front. While they never say it, they enjoy being where the whole congregation can see them.
I believe the first time I was present when an Apostle arrived was while I was in the MTC. The second he walked through the door a wave of people started to stand up. It began where he was and spread throughout the entire auditorium. It was almost a race to see who could be the first to recognize him and stand up. Every time that I have seen an Apostle in person since that day has been the same.
Here is another tradition that has found it's way into the Church Handbook's. For some reason we believe that the presiding authority should be served the sacrament first. How stark in contrast is this to the last supper! The Savior serves those around him first, and is the LAST to partake.
Throughout the scriptures and Church History we are commanded to Fast and Pray often. I completely agree. These are two things that help to bring the Spirit into our lives and help us get nearer to the Savior. However, nowhere in the scriptures have I been able to find an instance where we are commanded to fast once a month on a particular day. It is my belief that church leaders recognized that members were not fasting enough and decided if they made it a church wide day, that more people would do it.
I feel like I am starting to be repetitive. Once again, this is something that has no basis in the scriptures. Was Joseph Smith a home teacher? Was Jesus Christ a home teacher? I believe the answer is YES. However, I do NOT believe that they had a list of 3-5 families that they were required to visit every 30 days.