Friday, January 25, 2008

No Disrespect Intended

I apologize to Mormons who take offense at the fact that I no longer believe that Mormons have some kind of exclusive hold on the truth. I'll pay you the same back handed compliment that you offer to other churches. The Mormon church has a lot of good and true things that I admire, it's just that they don't have the whole truth. Specifically, they believe things that are either demonstrably false or else completely unsubstantiated by evidence or reason. They also insist on beliefs and behaviors that are completely unnecessary for living a full and happy life. Even worse they believe and practice things that are inconsistent with a full and happy life. One thing I think that Joseph Smith got right was that all of the churches are full of errors. Unfortunately he added one more example to the collection.

So, if you find Mormonism helpful and useful then more power to you. If you can convince others of its utility and convert them then even more power to you.

But please, when you find people like me who have thoroughly investigated the church and its claims and found them lacking, please stop telling them that they are proud sinners that have been deceived by Satan and that are doomed to a life of bitter misery for rejecting the "truth."

I welcome reasoned discussion and value dissenting opinions, especially when backed up by evidence and reason. I in fact am perfectly willing to change my mind if given good reasons. I ask you,

If the church wasn't true, would you want to know?

I would expect an unqualified yes from you before we engaged in any kind of discussion. I would expect that that would be back by an intellectual honesty that would admit the possibility that your beliefs might be wrong. In other words, not like my father who would answer, "Of course, I'd want to know. But I know it's true so it's a ridiculous question."

On the flip side I think it's fair for you to ask me,

If the church was true, would you want to know?

My answer is an unqualified yes. I would want to know. If I've misunderstood the issues or gotten the facts wrong I'll gladly accept correction. I reserve the right to change my mind. If anything, my loss of faith in the Mormon church isn't the result of pride. It's been truly humbling to realize how easily I was misled and how wrong I was. I find myself regularly reminding myself to listen and reevaluate my beliefs and opinions when I find them challenged. In other words, Mormonism instilled in me an overweening pride and sense of infallibility about religion that leaked into many other aspects of my life that I now find myself trying to undo.

I've posted my reasons for disbelief. I've explained the problems with Mormonisms methodology for evaluating truth claims. Please attack the issues, not me.


Anonymous said...

I would love to know the truth of all things, not just the validity of your arguments. It is amusing to me to notice your position in life: you say your way is the only way--you have to think the way I say or I won't accept your arguments. Sound pretty Mormon to me.

Bull said...

Anon, all I can say is go back and reread the post you just commented on. It says pretty much the opposite of your comment. I've changed my mind and admitted that I was wrong. I'm quite sure I'm wrong about other things too. As I said, I'm willing to be reasoned with.

Of course, if what you are referring to is that I don't accept illogical, unrefutable, unsupported assertions and beliefs then I'll just have to plead guilty. And that's not very "Mormon" at all. In fact it's the opposite since that is the basis of Mormonism, "Just have faith."

Also, if you have a particular point to make, then please make it. It sounds to me like you are unhappy with my conclusions but completely unwilling to deal with the evidence and reason behind those conclusions. Unlike what you claim, I have been willing to change my mind and reject a lifetime of teaching when faced with the evidence that it was wrong. How about you? Are you one of those people who plugs their ears and angrily declare, "I don't want to talk about it!"

You claim to want to know the truth, but first you have to be able to answer the two questions I posed. I notice that you didn't. I've yet to meet a believing Mormon that can.