I know most of you are not Mormon, nor do most of you live in dominant Mormon communities like I do here in Utah, so let me explain what the first weekend of October and the first weekend of April is like on Facebook for those of us who do. Why? Because no matter where you live, the dynamics of community and community interaction are so fascinating to explore, and no matter which specific dynamics we use as examples, everyone can pair them up next to different examples in their own lives.
Now, before I start… I am not Mormon. And I will tell you right now, this is not an anti-Mormon essay by any stretch. Most of my family and many of my friends are active Mormons and I love them to death. They are some of my favorite people in the world. They are good people. And, I really don’t care if you (or anyone) chooses to be a Mormon or not.
No, this post is not for or against any group of people. It’s simply a discussion of the strange dynamics that I have been watching this past week.
The Mormons have a symposium every six months called General Conference. It’s broadcast and translated internationally over the course of two days. The entire thing is 10 hours of total watching time, during which many of the leaders of the Mormon church give treatises and talks ranging on any variety of topics, from making sure you are serving others, to paying 10% of your gross income to the church, to the mandate of proclaiming your beliefs to all, to the little things you should be doing day in and day out to live life the way you ought.
Some people find conference to be beautiful, uplifting, poignant, rejuvenating. They feel bursts of excitement and motivation that carry them into the next six months with vigor. They feel strengthened and enlightened. They take notes and write essays on it. Conference is very important to them and their faith.
Others, and this is the camp I fell into when I used to be a Mormon, hate it. Ten hours watching old people say more or less the same things over and over was just too much twice a year. It’s really that simple. I had no problem with General Conference existing, or the strength and wisdom people gained from it, I just hated it and I hated the guilt I felt if I ever missed even one moment of it.
Now, back to Facebook, what happened last weekend, and these three Mormon truths.
1) People of the Mormon faith are taught that it is their job to share their beliefs with everyone in the entire world1. Every member a missionary!
2) People of the Mormon faith are taught that they should use their social networks and Internet platforms to share their beliefs with the entire world2.
3) People of the Mormon faith often are happy at the thought of their friends or family coming to believe that their church is true, and getting baptized into it (or coming back), and having everyone finally be on the same religious page.
And, alongside those three truths, these three exist about many ex-Mormons (like me).
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ALWAYS PUSHING?SHOVING ?FORCING!!! Not me boy, I do what I want and that's IT! Nobody's gonna tell me nothing! So, there! What do you think about that? Hail Satan!
I have not read all the comments, but if "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" is the only take away from THIS talk, I think you have missed a LOT of good stuff being said by Pres. Uchtdorf! <3
I am a member of the LDS church, who lives in Utah, and even I get sick of the constant postings. There is a time and a place. To me I try to just live the teachings and accept that not everyone feels the same way. I am in the middle. I feel that some people of the church are manipulated into their beliefs. I feel others are there because they have been given the time to explore and come to know that they feel the church is true. I am one of the latter. I had a mom who let me choose and decide for myself if I wanted to be a member or even attend church. I parent my girls the same way. I was never looked down on for questioning. I have seen those within the church who are, and even those who look down on me for allowing my girls (5 and 7) to question and make their own decisions. Yes they are young, but my love is unconditional. I want them to know that my love for them isn't dependent on if they get baptized or not, married in the temple or not, choose a different religion, etc. I feel this is how the church is meant to be. I think your points are valid in this post and I truly appreciate that you shared both points of view! As a side note, the quote is from a very good talk. I would recommend for arguments sake that you listen to it. It talks of Joseph Smith questioning his beliefs which is what brought him to know there wasn't anything on earth that he believed. It looked at a more broad picture than that quote leads you to believe. I can see why you wouldn't want to bother, but it isn't as specific as it seems in the one little quote. :)
Some of you are saying "I'm not mormon anymore" or "I don't ever want to be mormon, so leave me alone." It's the same as me saying, "well I am mormon and I want to stay mormon so leave me alone!" Let's learn to respect each others beliefs and learn from each other. Someone may not want to be mormon but that doesn't mean they can't learn something from me that would better their lives and visa-versa. Let's be friends!! This statement was also spoken by President Uchtdorf in the same talk, and may shed some light on this whole debate.
"If the gospel is so wonderful why would anyone leave? Sometime we assume it is because they have been offended, or lazy, or sinful. Actually it is not that simple. In fact there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations. Some of our dear members struggle for years with a question whether they should separate themselves from the church. In this church that honors personal agency so strongly that it was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the church we love, and the truth we have found. But we honor their right to worship almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim the privilege for ourselves."
Dan, take the religion out of this, and it is a beautifully moving quote! Think of Uchtdorf as the success Business man that he is, not the religious leader. Do you think he gained all that success with self doubt? I found this quote to be personally motivating when I came across it on my facebook feed. I have struggled with self-doubt, insecurities and the inability to dream or believe in myself for the past few years. I look at this as "Doubt your Doubts more than your Belief....in yourself or your dreams?" its amazing! We can all doubt ourselves or opportunities to the point that we never try new things, never achieve success and never make a change. I am going to doubt all of those doubts more than I doubt the beliefs or the what-if's! I thought you were a dreamer Dan, don't be such a skeptic! ;)
Hey Dan, this post from the blog For Gail So Loved the World really meant a lot to me as a gay person on uncertain terms with God. It's not preachy at all. Please, please read it when you have time: http://www.homospirituality.com/2013/09/30/the-de-churched-how-to-talk-to-us/
The author belonged to some other Christian denomination that's not LDS, but as you can see, it's applicable to pretty much any faith community and speaks to the same feeling as your post does.
I hate this us verses them mentality. It doesn't do any good. It doesn't change minds. Yes, the culture has become manipulative and shameful. I hated that and that's why I left. Doctrine wise, there's still good things. I just couldn't stand the attitude or the people.
First of all, Facebook allows us to create groups of friends with whom we can share, or not share, certain posts. I have a group called "church friends" with whom I can exclusively share thoughts on church matters and GC that may be too much to share with my non-church friends. I still do share from time to time general thoughts about my faith and church with all my FB friends, but I can at least limit the deeper stuff to my church friends.
Second, "doubt your doubts" means to me to not allow your doubts to overtake you to the point that you throw away something that may be beneficial and good to your life, at least not without looking at your doubts with the same critical eye as your beliefs. I tend to look upon my faith as a large puzzle where some of the pieces may be missing or difficult to place, but as time goes on more and more of the pieces show up and start fitting. I try to fit individual seeds of doubt into the larger picture as questions whose answers have not yet come but will in time, rather than let them unravel everything I believe.
Third, posts like these disturb me because they tend to give a handful of anti-Mormons an excuse to bash our faith and spread lies and misinformation in the comments, like at least one troll out there seems to be doing now with snide replies to many posts. I fully support the fact, Dan, that this is your blog and you reserve the right to post whatever you please whether your readers agree with you or not. But there are many of us that find it painful to read about something we treasure mocked by those that don't understand, are too ignorant to understand, or just too ignorant period. I enjoy reading your blog and your many viewpoints on different issues, especially parenting, and I don't take issue with you for having your own issues with the church, but I hope you don't continue to feed the anti-Mormon trolls.
I honestly think people are more worked up that a religious figure apoke these words than the words themselves. The words themselves encourage empowerment. A personal matter. Take religion out of it. If people want to be religious there is nothing wrong with that if they dont they do not need to view it that way. To miss.Johnson I can understand how someone who did not grow up in the church could view it that way but truth be told its not that way at all. I got pregnant before marriage, before I toom them out I was covered in piercings, I swore, I have tattoos, I smoked cigarettes and no one at church made me feel controled or judged. Of course as i grew and settled down that changed but on my terms.members never outwardly judged or threatened my soul. They were always loving and supportive. I think it would benefit to do some research more about the church if youd like to form a more educated opinion. Try lds.org it should help explain the church more.
I'm Ex -JW..while I love having conversations about what people believe,when someone tries to act like what they believe is the only truth..I just .."Smile and wave boys..smile and wave"Skipper~madagascar
Well, I'm not an Ex Mormon - worse, I'm an Ex Baptist! You know, "if you don't believe what I believe, even though you're a christian, you're still going to hell" Baptist. I read that statement to be this: Question why you are doubting what you have believed - are you rebelling against a parent or authoritarian influence - doubt just for the sake of doubt - or do you really want to know the truth? Being doubtful of Baptists and Christianity in general caused a lot of heart ache in my family, and it is now a subject that we skirt around, because I love my dad, and my dad loves me, and we accept that we disagree. There is no need to rehash the reasons why. It's never a bad thing to question, in my opinion, but a person should be prepared for the unintended consequences of questioning. For me, there was just an entire world of information that I couldn't reconcile with a the microcosmic world view of the church I was attending so I quit, and I went searching. Not everyone feels the need to do that, and I accept that as their choice. Good luck to all of us!
I don't think that Madeleine L'engle quote is fair because I'm reading the book that quote is in right now, and it's about letting your imagination run wild so you can write better fantasy books and make better art....not about controlling people. She was an Anglican, for heaven's sake.
hello!! I am an inactive mornon and hinestly when I read it I saw it not religious at all. the way read it was to belueve in myaelf and not let others sway me to fit in. in my opinion people read it religious because they wabted a fight. please ecxuse the writing my phone is glitching. I think if peoe had brought it more personally there is no reason to fight over it. well wasnt anhway I am a full supporter of differences. I do not think of it as religious. I aeperate from it because it doesnt make a difference to me as being inactive. I think if people disagree thats ok but to me I didnt read it as religiius or a faith issue. I read it and instantly thought. ita . I should belueve in MYSELF.
I found it rather interesting, that the LDS church is so frightened people may think for themselves, that they have to make a statement of this sort. Doubts are there for a reason. It's intuition. Why would ANYONE ever be afraid of others finding their truth? I've always found the Mormon church to be incredibly invasive. Every single aspect of their members personal lives are micromanaged. I grew up with a family who went to church regularly. It never felt right, not even as a young child.
Morgan...You need to read this. I know we aren't Mormon, but considering how we have both began to feel about the church and religion in general, I think you will appreciate this blog post as much as I did.
I feel the same way. I've enjoyed the humor, but like you, I would never speak badly of another's faith. Thank you for speaking on this so eloquently.
Well said Dan! As an Ex-mo myself I've found it difficult to leave the organisation because of bombardment left right and centre from people who feel it's their duty to save me and my family. My view is to believe in what you want to believe in. Be a good person with the morals the church did teach but mold it shape it so it fits who you are instead of trying to mold yourself to fit something you are told to fit in. Conference weekend really was a tough one on facebook but there are "hide" options and i had to use them to keep sane! lol i'm no anti. i love my friends i have made and i wouldn't change them for the world. Peace xHeidix
Here is the link to the talk this quote is found in. Watch it, and judge for yourselves. :-)
I hope you do, and you understand why an Apostle of the Lord said it. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I LOVE this quote. I know for me, it went right along with a talk that Jeffrey R. Holland, another Apostle, gave last conference in April. (Located here: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng .)
His talk summary is this: "Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."
In his talk, the best parts, in my opinion, and those which get the point across, are, "In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know. When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: 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! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.
There is a difference between questioning and doubting. have questioned a lot of things I believe but because I question them I go out and I learn for myself to find out if they are true to me. I do not doubt them, I do not have negative feelings towards them (which in most cases is what doubts bring) I simply have questions and I want answers. The definitions of both words are here: To doubt is to consider something questionable or unlikely. To question is to have a matter of investigation. You can question your faith or beliefs without having to doubt them. I have done this many times. I just say have an open mind in life. If you close a door to one thing you are limiting yourself on what you can learn and there is so much to learn from life. We all want to find the truth but we can't find it if we put so much time into proving why others are wrong and we are right. We have to go and find the truth, question our intents, have a desire to know and learn and then we will grow and find what we have been looking for. Yes, I am religious, Yes I am a Latter-day saint but I am not forced to live what I live. I am not forced to believe what I believe and Its not wrong to question what you believe. The intentions of this quote was not for us to accept what these men say and blindlessly follow them, it was an invitation to find what you believe and come to love it.
"Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge"...not sure who said this first, but I concur. If you ask me; doubt is usually negative and yields very few positive outcomes, whereas wonder and questioning tends to result in action and further insight.
I think your logic on coming to find truth is somewhat flawed. You say that there are three ways to find truth.
Accept what they tell us. Argue with what they tell us. Or simply tune them out and live our lives the way we know we each should, living the truths we have come to find, by whatever means we came to find them.
Yet, in order for us to find truth, unless we live in a secluded forest, we must interact with people and other ideas. Who constitute the they in the first two ways to find truth. So somewhere along the line you listened to them and accepted that as truth. Since deciding on what you believe it seems like you have closed your mind to reexamining any new evidence that may come up in the future, whether about the mormon church or not. Ironically, by taking the third path and not trying to find additional truth, but sticking with possibly outdated truth you become a hypocrite by not questioning everything and then stop being a seeker of truth from wherever it may come from.
My take away is this. Truth does not discriminate. An atheist who does not learn from the bible is just as ignorant as a christian who does not learn from science. Never stop learning.
While the quote was used in reference to religious beliefs, I think it rings true to other areas as well. "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your beliefs...." in yourself/in your fellow man etc. It's a great quote which I'm sure was shared because of the way it struck people, not because they were trying to convert people. By focusing on it in that manner, you miss out on the greatness of the quote, and how you might could benefit from it, or the other quotes people shared from their religious leaders. I personally collect quotes from a lot of religious leaders, not of my faith because I find truth in them, I find enlightenment, and inspiration, comfort or motivation. Despite the quality of the quote, I do think now would be a good time for you to doubt your believes in your fellow man and their motivations in sharing something they felt inspired by.
I love hearing your perspective of being an ex-Mormon. It's an interesting thing being part of a still-active Mormon family when I am no longer a follower
Excellent essay Dan. What is supposed to unite us, The Truth, divides us. To me the issue is simple. My faith is corroborated by facts; the facts strengthen my beliefs.
There's a big difference between doubting beliefs, and questioning them. Nothing wrong with questioning everything, that is how we learn.
I enjoy your views on fatherhood, as I am a single father as well. However, more than any other post, this one caused me to rethink some things, namely, why I should read your posts.
Dan, I wish you well. However, the re-post you are referring to, was personal to millions of people. They shared it, not to convert others, but because it was special to them.
Consider me an ex-reader. I wont be back. Good Bye
Atheist, and ex-Mormon here. I joke that faith is against our religion, but only between me & my husband. I don't like militant atheists any more than I like door-knocking Christians. Your final paragraphs were the exact thoughts I try to instill in my kids. We all believe differently; can't we just embrace that concept & get along? If I can find commonality with my baptist friends at work, and they with me, with mutual respect & laughs, then there's hope for the militant Whatevers!
Did you ever think that those of us who reposted this quote weren't trying to persuade someone to our faith, but merely posting something that meant a lot to us personally? Everybody else in the world is allowed to post whatever they want every day so why not us in the LDS church?
As a convert to the church, it annoys me to read that people argue about one simple quote from General Conference. My newsfeed was bombarded with that quote, but I've yet to see one post where I feel they truly understood the meaning behind the quote. I've lived my life as Catholic and now as a Mormon and right now, it's difficult to be "strong" in the church because you find so many people who just HAVE to post FB post after FB post about what one speaker said or whatever or that HAVE to prove that they are "worthy" and "strong" in the church and wants to "help" everyone learn the Gospel, I doubted my faith when I was investigating, I learned for myself what the truth was FOR ME! My truth is: the church is perfect, people are not. And yet so many of us turn away because we see the people act not at ALL what we've been taught to be. I didn't understand that until i went through that myself with members of my church. And I stopped going. But I've never doubted my faith. I don't have to. I know for ME what is true. None of my family members are LDS but that doesn't make me stop loving them. I've seen people fall hard that supposedly were strong in the church. But people aren't perfect... And to have people argue about the meaning of one quote well, who are they really helping? I believe in the church, and that's my truth. I know people don't and that's their truth. It doesn't make me love them less, it doesn't make them less of a person. I respect their opinions as long as they respect mine. I know what I believe in, and how I've felt when I was converted no one can take that away from me. Whatever your truth is run with it. As long as you are a good person, willing to help those out in need, not shoving your beliefs down someone's throat, and do what you say, then great and are GENUINE! We've seem to have lost that...
I loved this post. The quote in question couldn't be truer for me where I am. I am a Christian, raised southern baptist and now call myself a red letter Christian (for those that don't know, many bibles have Jesus' words typed in red and to me that's all that matters) To doubt any part of the bible the way I was raised was a sin and a slap in the face of God. An example would be creation story- IMO to take everything literal and bet my life the world was made in 7 24 hour periods is just unnecessary, I've grown to accept my doubts, doubted them, rolled them over and over in my head and tossed out what theology I found to be unnecessary. Science hasn't answered everything yet and probably never will. Doubt comes into play definitely with scientific discoveries but doubting beliefs, for me, is part of my spiritual growth. I do rely on my feelings, experiences and even logic to keep my basic beliefs going on. I will always believe Jesus is in my life because of my experiences. If you haven't felt what that is like then it's hard to explain. Many non christians have called me an idiot for believing, close minded, old fashioned and they are being as close minded themselves to not think it possible that some people's experiences aren't some farce the brain has made up as part of an evolutionary means to continue humanity. If you truly believe, youve experienced the spirit world especially, and you believe that you believe you will doubt your doubts many many times before you doubt the core of that belief. The belief that there is an ultimate creator, a spirit world beyond the physical and that there's more to life than what happens between birth and death. That's how I see it anyway. If you come to the doubting your belief and basic core beliefs and choose to part with them then that's your walk and path in life. It may be a bit of a warning to say doubt your doubts before you doubt your beliefs but i think the basic human question of why we are here is serious and I doubt there are many people who haven't asked that.
DAN, I THINK IF YOU LISTENED TO OR READ THE TALK IT WOULD MAKE A LITTLE MORE SENSE THAN JUST THE QUOTE. AS AN ACTIVE MORMON, THAT WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES BECAUSE I HAVE RECENTLY STRUGGLED WITH DOUBTING EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE AND FEELING VERY INADEQUATE. THE QUOTE WAS "DOUBT YOUR DOUBTS BEFORE YOU DOUBT YOUR *FAITH*" AND NOT YOUR "BELIEFS". FAITH ENTITLES A LOT MORE THAN BELIEFS. YOU CAN BE NON-RELIGIOUS AND HAVE FAITH IN A LOT OF THINGS, OR PEOPLE, EVEN YOURSELF. I DON'T SHARE MUCH ON FACEBOOK AND I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT HOW ANNOYED MY NON-MORMON/NON-RELIGIOUS FRIENDS MUST FEEL AROUND CONFERENCE TIME. AND IN MANY OF THE POSTS FROM YOU I HAVE READ I CAN SENSE THE RESENTMENT SO MUCH! IF YOU READ THE TALK, YOU'LL SEE AS WELL A PART ABOUT RESPECTING THE AGENCY OF THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT AND DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO THE CHURCH. I TOTALLY RESPECT YOU AND I THINK THAT IF YOU ARE GOING TO EXPOSE YOUR OPINION ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT WITH SO MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, YOU MIGHT AS WELL TAKE A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO READ THE WHOLE THING AND MAYBE MAKE MORE SENSE OUT OF IT. NOT SAYING YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE OR GO BACK OR TAKE THE MESSAGE TO HEART, JUST SAYING THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO STUDY THESE THING BEFORE FIRING BACK. (I'M ASSUMING THAT YOU DIDN'T BASED ON WHAT YOU WROTE)
Love this! I am not a Mormon but I am a liberal Christian which puts me right in the middle of extremes on all sides. I too believe that truth should be searched for not just accepted blindly. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says "Test everything, hold on to the good." It's a tiny but important verse that often gets ignored.
I see the statement entirely differently. He's not saying deny that you have any doubts and cling to your beliefs at all costs. He's saying before you throw away something that you truly believe, examine your questions. He's not saying that you should shove all doubts aside, in fact, if you read the whole talk he actually promotes leaving your comfort zone to find the truth. He encourages honest inquiry. If you've had your faith confirmed to you and it's made you happy, then why let it be the first thing you throw out? You can keep your faith while you look for answers (in fact, I've found that to be the most effective way to find answers). And then, if at the end of your search you find that the truth is not what you believed it to be... then embrace that truth. This doesn't apply to just Mormonism, or Catholicism, or Buddhism, or Taoism, or any religion. This applies to all aspects of life. Because as human beings we run on belief. Beliefs about morality, beliefs about society, beliefs about economy, beliefs about ourselves. The only way to grow and develop is to constantly search to better understand what we believe. And also... please please remember that if you're going to pull a quote off the internet to write a blog article on, be an informed writer and try to get some context first. This article would have a much greater impact if you had read the talk and been able to comment on it's entirety.
I'm Mormon, I think it's healthy to doubt things we're taught, that's how we gain a belief system and a testimony. We are not taught to follow blindly, we are taught to research and examine and pray for guidance to know what is right for us. I think "doubt your doubts" might be explained as, "examine why you're doubting" Is it something you want right now that goes against what you were taught that is making you "doubt" those teachings? Are you an 18 year old boy and suddenly presented with the opportunity to lose your virginity when you've been taught all your life to wait till marriage? If that's the case, can we really call that "your belief"? I don't think so, if you're easily swayed away from it, I don't think you can say you believed, I think you "followed teachings". So look at why you're doubting...before giving up in what you've been taught.
Hmmmm. I've doubted my faith...I've doubted how strong or weak it was, I've doubted some things in the bible, or rather, man/ the Church's interpretation of it. I've also doubted my doubt. I believe people are on either side. Maybe permanently or maybe they may vacillate between the two... But it's *their* mind, their walk, their faith or doubt. I always fall back on love. Loving people where they are at. Even if it doesn't line up with where I'm at. I've found I've learned from both.
As long as peoples' beliefs do not infringe on the rights of others or hurt anyone, great. Have fun with that, but out of respect for others try keeping them to yourself. If you try to impose your beliefs on me and force me to live the way you have CHOSEN for yourself, you're gonna have a big problem. I'm perfectly content to 'Live and let live' as long as I am given the same respect from others.
Hi Dan! For me, the whole "I'm right" thing which happens in disagreements comes from: 1) need to justify one's beliefs And 2) like the comic Chris Rock said "everyone wants to be in a gang". IOW: No one wants to be by themselves. They want folks who agree with them surrounding them. It's a thing we all do, and it can get pretty ugly at times.That being said, some beliefs can be dangerous. The best example I can think of is response to LGBT folks in some religions. I was taught that it's sin and they're sinners...blah blah.But the folks I met were loving, kind,etc. The stuff Christ asked of us(believers). It was slow, but I discarded that article of my church's core beliefs.So I guess what I'm saying is , if it keeps you from loving and respecting others...toss it.All in all, loved your blog post!
Valeda hit the nail on the head. Take religion out of it. Think basic psychology. Think of only your belief in yourself. Also, each process takes milliseconds and occurs over and over each day. He didn't say don't doubt your beliefs. Just check it out with your own most reliable source first.
It's impossible to "doubt everything (we) are taught and given to believe, and... doubt it to the point where (we) find out whether it is truth or not." Given, religion is a fundamental belief that greatly impacts our view of the world and so of course we should spend time trying to acknowledge what we do or do not believe about it, but gravity or any number of laws of physics etc. are also fundamental to our lives and yet how many of use really doubt those things? Each of us could spend years researching and studying and doubting any of these principles that in all reality impact our lives every day. Yes, we take classes and learn about them, but do we spend out lives doubting these things to the point where we find out whether it is true or not? Probably not. But we live our lives every day and see evidence of these principles, we recognize that gravity is at play when a pencil falls off of a table. Would our lives really be so much better if we spent them trying to debunk these laws of physics? Would gravity really stop working because we stopped believing in it (probably because it was simply too large of a concept for us to understand)? I get what you're saying, but I also think it is wrong. I think that the quest for knowledge should not be fueled by doubt but instead by a desire to understand, and sometimes things are so beyond our comprehension that we simply believe because we have seen the results and feel that something makes sense. And of course, we must find a happy medium in letting ourselves be fueled by both doubt and belief because both are powerful.
@The Real Dave Beautifully put.
@The Real Dave I suppose you're talking to me. I was drawn to this blog without any knowledge that he was from the Mormons, and his posts about it probably aren't good for me either, since as you can tell I have a hard time maintaining my temper when thinking about Mormonism. I am by no means "ignorant" about the LDS; rather I know more about it than I would wish.
Please try to understand where people like me are coming from. It is not just that we do not share your beliefs (everybody has to put up with lots of people who think very differently) or even that we think that they are gross "lies and misinformation" (although we do). It is that you aggressively try to talk other people into them, so that we must aggressively try to talk people out of them, if we do not wish the LDS to spread. And we definitely do not, because like any "faith" it is not just about beliefs, but behavior. Most Mormons are "nice people", sure: but that is because most people of any kind are. Non-Mormons do not see the behaviors that your ultra-religious exhibit as being "nice" at all, but quite "nasty" rather, and we do not believe that basically good people would act that way without the pernicious influence of the religion. It is gratifying, therefore, to see in recent years many Mormons questioning both the sillier beliefs and the wickedest behaviors in the church. I was reading the quote here as in the Marx Brothers movie where Chico says "Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?" telling you to keep swallowing whatever the church says, regardless of how clearly you can see that something is wrong. That is why it pushed my buttons.
@Shelley Fun I would really love to hear how you distinguish between questioning beliefs and allowing yourself to doubt them. The issue I have is that what Uchtdorf said and what LDS mean when they say question from my experience is to not question at all but to merely re-contextualize information but not allow for different conclusions. More simply put you can redefine the narratives, history and doctrines as long as in the end the Church is still true and LDS leaders are still led by God. No matter how you change the numbers it always must add up to 5.
Seriously how can one question/address LDS foundation claims if they are not willing to really allow themselves to think "maybe Mormonism is not what it claims to be."
Kirby - Let Your Light So Shine
Kirby: Blinding People of Other Faiths With Your Superior Knowledge Is Not Letting Your Light Shine
For some people, religion isn't a spiritual journey as much as it is an ego trip. Proof seems to be the increasing use of an already popular proselytizing tool: the evangelical insult.
To show you what I mean, here are a few downloaded from religious chat groups found on the Internet.
Baptist to Mormon: ``How can you be so stupid?''
Catholic to Baptist: ``. . . workings of a contemptible mind.''
Evangelist to atheist: ``The dog returning to its vomet [sic] is you.''
Fundamentalist to all: ``Babylonian whores!''
However, because I'm LDS, my personal choice for the most ineffective religious dialogue of the year was an e-mail left on an ex-Mormon Web site by two Mormon missionaries: ``You are a total loser.''
If human beings can't come to terms over simple stuff like Classic Coke, it stands to reason that we won't be able to reach a popular consensus about God, either. Still, it's more than just a little ironic that people big on gospel love seem to think the best way to evangelize their faith is to insult someone.
You don't necessarily have to be religious to figure out that this kind of behavior is counterproductive. Tell the truth, how many of you have ever been persuaded to change your views on anything because someone insulted you?
``Floyd, Christ Jesus thinks you're a stinking heap of garbage.''
Stuff like this only makes people dig their heels in harder. After all, why would they want to surrender their views to someone who thinks they are worthless?
So why do people do it? Probably because they are more interested in having their say than in changing minds.
Arguing over religion is a waste of time. The general nature of religious belief is that little of it can actually be proved to anyone other than yourself. It requires something that cannot be proved empirically: namely, a leap of faith.
Leaps of faith have one teensy problem. Too often they tend to be based on the circumstances of one's birth and social surroundings rather than one's smarts. For all their self-important blather, most Christians are Christians simply because they weren't born and raised Hindus.
A good way to figure out if this applies to you is how fast you get angry when someone or something challenges your beliefs. If it sends you into a tizzy, chances are that your convictions are more cultural than spiritual. This is not about the freedom to share your religious views with others, but rather about your methods. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't automatically make you wise, something you really ought to be before you go around insulting people in his name.
When Christ counseled his followers to let their light shine as a way to spread the news, he wasn't giving us the Parable of the Bug Zapper, nor was he talking about the religious equivalent of poaching deer with a spotlight.
The true test of your faith is the ability to effectively dialogue with people who believe differently than you. If you are insulting them based on your notion of ecclesiastical correctness, it probably isn't working as well as you might think.
@KimberlyZelaya I totally see where you're coming from. I personally didn't post any conference quotes or ever feel like I need to, and yes I'm a Mormon. I think you're right about some members feeling like they have to "prove they are worthy and strong in the church" and that stinks!! I mean it gives a lot of us members a bad rap. I know that living in Utah, there are probably a lot of opportunities to see ALL sides of ALL types of people in the church. And it isn't great because there really ARE some members who feel the need to shove the gospel down other people's throats. And that just isn't true for most of us. I'm actually going on a mission in two months to Chile and I still think you seriously HAVE to respect other people's beliefs and let them find out their own truth for themselves. HOWEVER, I do think that people posting a general conference quote on Facebook, as long as the comment "Everyone who isn't a member of my church should believe this too" wasn't attached, is totally fine and their perogative. It's Facebook, a free social network where you can unfriend people who's posts you disagree with. But thanks for your comment because I totally agree. I think we all should respect each other on both sides. Us Mormons need to seriously start respecting people of different faiths and just try to learn from each other, but non-members need to respect our right to believe how WE choose and treat us the way they expect us to treat them as well.
@Flo i think you missed the point dan was trying to make. Its not about the quote being right or wrong its about the constant debate(for which everyone has their own belief) that something as simple as a quote has caused.
@JuliaDunne @KimberlyZelaya No, non-members don't "need" to respect your beliefs, and I'll tell you why: you are going on a mission to spread those beliefs. If you kept to yourselves and only shared your beliefs with people who sought you out, you would be respected as much as the Amish or any other group whose beliefs are far from the mainstream but who don't try to push. You push, so you get pushback.