Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"The One True Church" Part A

Well, it's either true or false. If it's false, we're engaged in a great fraud. If it's true, it's the most important thing in the world. Now, that's the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true. -Gordon B. Hinckley
I've heard it said too many times to count that "if the Book of Mormon is true/Joseph Smith was a true prophet/etc. then the church is true." This line of thinking (only one important thing must be true for the entire gospel to be true) is what enabled me to ignore problems with the church. If I felt I had a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, then the Book of Mormon really was the word of God as translated from golden plates and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was God's church as restored by holy messengers and the only church with the power of God's priesthood.

All it took was protecting my faith and ignorance in one subject matter for me to excuse any other problems that came my way. And the really twisted logic came when relying on my "testimony" of one principle to accept a problem with another, only to reverse which I relied on later! For example, one day I might rely on my testimony of the Book of Mormon to keep me from losing faith when encountering something which made me doubt Joseph Smith. A few days later I might rely on my testimony of Joseph Smith to remind me that problems in the Book of Mormon must simply be something I didn't understand (and certainly not evidence of the Book's falsehood). This twisted reasoning allowed me to "put things on the shelf." I never had to think about a damn thing because something else was "true" and certainly there was an explanation for whatever thing concerned me. And frankly...it's kind of a nice way to live and view the world. I didn't have to spend time dwelling on things which made me uncomfortable. I could simply escape back into the fantasy.

"Gee...I don't think I buy this people turning black and white stuff as written in the Book of Mormon. But there must be an explanation."

"I cannot understand how a loving father in heaven would *ever* demand that his daughters suffer the pain of practicing polygamy. But Joseph Smith was a prophet so it must have really been a revelation from God."

"Wow...the God of the Old Testament is really mean and nasty and not at all like Jesus was. But the Book of Mormon is true so it doesn't really matter what the Bible seems to say."

Those are some examples that came to mind just now. But here's where I'm going with all this; I have two points:

1. Within the "gospel" real thinking is "dangerous" so it is replaced with faulty logical reasoning, rationalization, and postponement of evaluation (after all, everything will be explained in the life to come).

2. If, as so many TBMs conclude, the truthfulness of one important principle is enough to confirm the whole of it or, better yet, if, as Gordon B. Hinckley basically said, the church is either completely true or a complete fraud then what happens if the truthfulness of one important principle can be shown? The type of information that could crack the foundations of the church and show it to be "a great fraud" is absolutely available (my link and reading lists are a good place to start)! Which is why members of the church are given dire warnings to never, EVER read what they call "anti-Mormon" literature.