Tuesday, July 23, 2013


While I suppose some of us will always be driven to delve deeper into such matters, I do not agree with those accusing the Church of presenting a “sanitized” revision of history.   It has become popular and fashionable to put on a public face of intellectual scepticism and doubting.  I think some of us who fall into this category may have unwittingly postured ourselves into the “great and spacious building” crowd. In the most recent General Conference, Elder Holland admonished,
    I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!  (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Lord, I Believe")
Everyone has doubts. This is not a trivial consideration by any means. But Elder Holland's counsel on how to address these issues is wise.

Please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.  (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Lord, I Believe")

We should understand that the mission of the Church is to teach the Gospel. To digress from the Gospel message in order to present and explain every historical deviance from the Lord's direction would be counterproductive and distracting. We stipulate the fact that men are imperfect, and tend to err. Our presentation of Church history frequently acknowledges this, and should suffice for the instruction of the general body of the Church. There is no good reason to spend our Sacrament Meetings or Sunday School or Relief Society or Priesthood Meetings detailing every specific abberation.

Today more than ever before, to any thinking person it must be obvious that not all information is equally valid or valuable. It has been observed many times that not all truths are of equal importance or priority. What we are seeking is the greater light that emanates from the heavens.

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)

Cultivating doubts and entertaining critical examination are fine academic pursuits. But as members of God's Kingdom, we are called to pursue higher goals.

And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given. (Doctrine and Covenants 43:8)

And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.

Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand...  (Doctrine and Covenants 88: 77-78)


Dennis said...

It always amuses me thinking about these so-called "faith challenges" that have come up over the years. Hoffman's attempts to forge the Salamander Letter and other such incidents brought some members to the brink. Then, as time went on, the forgeries and lies were found out. But it is fascinating to see what little faith some folks have and to see them "cast about with every wind of doctrine..." Steady as she goes, Mr. Sulu...

Jim Cobabe said...

Dennis, as a spectator I too find this phenomenon sometimes entertaining, but as a participant and stake-holder, "watchmen on the tower", it worries. Mostly I try to lead with my faith, as Elder Holland counsels. But as an observer of world events, I fear that we are fighting a losing battle, purely against physical forces like entropy. If we as a community of faith cease to invest sufficient collective energy in maintaining the good things that the Church represents, then the flood of bad that so seems to dominate in the world, seems likely to wash over us all. We must put aside our fears, and continue to work together to face these challenges, or be overtaken by the surging tide.

Jim Cobabe said...

Deseret News article examines two upcoming conferences that focus on this issue...

Mormons navigate faith and doubt

Jim Cobabe said...

Not to be outdone, Peggy throws her hat in the ring...

SLTrib trumpet Sexy Salacious Symposium (FAIR Conference only merits the apologetic sideline)