Daily GUIDE-ance:

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I am re-posting something that I wrote on Dana's blog quite a while back. Timpani made the mistake of mentioning to me that she liked it (aaaaaah... the ego purrs!) and so I have been thinking for a while that I should put it on my blog if for no other reason than so that I don't lose it if Dana's crashes for some reason. In context of the previous discussion, I thought now was as good a time as any:

I am a born skeptic- it always takes me alot of convincing before I can accept anything as true. I don't know that this is always good or always bad- for me it just is. I like my skepticism- "Skepticism is the chastity of the mind"

Anyhow, when I committed myself, after 2 years of thinking, to the becoming a full time missionary for the LDS church for two years, at age 21,- I was going into it aware that my "testimony" was incomplete. I was not sure it was all true- not entirely sure. I knew that I didn't know. But I was at a point where I needed to take the next step in my experimenting with faith- and that had to be the mission. The chance I took there paid off in spades.

There are somethings I know now that I didn't know then- somethings that I could only learn through experience. There are still other aspects of Mormonism and Christianity that frankly make no logical sense to me, but that I accept because I have personal experience/ knowledge/ understanding of other, more core aspects of the gospel. For instance the notion that we live on in another form after death has an easy home in my soul- it seems so obvious to me that we are more than the sum of our physical parts. Other things are less obvious to me.

I can accept that there is much I don't understand. I suspect that there are many popular, widely held views within both the LDS church and within the world in general, that in the end, will turn out to be dramatically wrong. Life has always been this way. One thing that I think is apparent from history is that almost any widely held belief is bound to have some fundamental misconceptions in it. I first heard about Galileo in a children's story book written by religious folks about religious heroes, but during his lifetime, he was thrown in prison, threatened with torture, and forced to write a recant of his scientific discoveries by the religious leaders of his day. (Nice!)

Even- and I may be weird this way I dunno- the very core blocks of my personal beliefs are always available in my mind for review and reevaluation. At least I try to keep them that way.

(this is getting long)

The whole process of reaching for more truth and more personal perfection all must begin with admitting that you have been wrong about something, I think. In some ways, I think being able to say "I don't know..." is as important as being able to say "I know". Certainly there are more things to say "I don't know" about than there are to say "I know" about.

Good gravy-

time to goto bed-




timpani76 said...

Well, now I feel all "called out" or something. Here's what I wrote before in response to you:

"I wanted to comment on your comment because I really liked it. I was also reading something in Mere Christianity that tied into your comment and made me think more about testimony (which he put under a chapter called "Faith").

"We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in our mind. It must be fed.... I wonder how many of them (Christians) would
have turned out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?"

This specific area made me realize that C.S. Lewis was echoing WHY we have to read scriptures, pray daily, and go to church for our testimony. He put it more plainly than I have ever heard it, yet also put up several arguments that I had never heard before also. I realized that some things in our testimony we just know, but others we have to DO to keep or get our testimony. I had to pay tithe and read scriptures everyday to understand the benefits of these things,
and I had to stop watching rated R movies to get a testimony of that principle.

And, back to your comment. I had to admit I was wrong in watching rated R movies, to get a testimony of it.
Just as you had to admit you were wrong in some respects, by going on a mission. You gained your testimony by doing something, going on a mission, and truths were revealed to you because of that."

ALSO- I think that searching for truth does not always mean that you are wrong, but that you admit that you DO NOT KNOW.

Renae said...

Your ideas are all foolishness. Why don't you do us all a favor and blow yourself up.

Much Love,
Your wise and noble sister,

jbcrider said...

You know I was thinking about this a lot lately. Truth is relative. I love the church, but much like Sever I question ideas most of the time. The gospel is true it is the people involved that mess it up. I am curious if your ward read the letter over the pulpit about the Gay Marriage law in California. Was it me or was that all about politics and nothing to do with morals. What happened to "hate the sin love the sinner"? Plus when did we forget the 11th article of Faith?

For those who have forgotten or never knew:

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

I will ascend back into my hole...

Everyone Admires Mary said...

If we're using that line of reasoning, then all sins should be legal. If we are going by that idea, then murder, and theft should also be legal, silly. Here's something that my dad said to me that resonates: Where do we get our rights from? God or Man? If we get our rights from Man, then they can be given or taken at the will of a man. However, if we get our rights from God, then the rights that God lays out in His Word cannot be taken by any man. We know the US law was based not only on English Common Law, but it is also based upon the laws of God. In many of our founding documents the authors routinely refer back to getting our rights from the Creator (example: "...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...") While I waffle on the gay-marriage issue, wondering really who it hurts to let them be married, I also think that allowing it is just one more may that we are sanctioning the erosion of our values as a nation, and kicking God out of the decision-making process in this country. Once we tell God that HE doesn't get to choose which rights we are allowed, we are telling men that it's okay for THEM to decide, and that is a very slippery slope indeed.

jbcrider said...

I agree but according to your logic..why doesn't the church fight as hard against tobacco, alcohol, and other legalized sins. I understand we have to pick and choose our fights. All I am saying is that God gave us free agency, and people need to learn to use it. If people just acted the way they were supposed to then we really wouldn't need judgement.

I fear government restricting people's actions that do not "harm" others.

While I do not agree with a homosexual lifestyle, Who am I to tell someone who they can and cannot love...

jbcrider said...

Just found an interesting article on this subject. Sorry for hijacking the conversation. John just got me thinking...


Eyepoke said...

Crider: How do you ascend back into a hole?

No- I missed that letter. Did it originate in Salt Lake or what? I'd be interested in what it said.

Eyepoke said...

Gay marriage:

Having read all that let me wiegh in a bit.

The problem with gay "marriage" is that it's nonsense. Its like saying "dry water" or "Bright darkness" or "Invisible purple"...

Husband is a gender specific word. So is wife. Trying to say that two men are "married" is just gibberish. Its not even English. It's like the people who adopt a monkey and raise it like a baby and pretend that it's a human child. Its. Still. A. Monkey.

If two dudes want to hold hands, kiss, live together, name each other as beneficaries in thier wills etc, that's up to them. Go for it. That's not illegal. It's not marriage because neither of them is a wife or a husband.

It's also not the healthiest environment for a child to be raised in. I'm not saying that the law should take children away from parents who try out being gay after becoming parents. But changing the legal definition of marriage opens the gate for gay couples to adopt. That should not happen.

Another thing: if marriage is redefined to be non-gender specific, legal polygamy is definately the next logical step. I personally can imagine a healthy polygamous relationship, but a healthy gay relationship is ...no- can't imagine it. Frankly, I don't see how polygamy is illegal. Its not illegal to cheat on your wife or to be a swinger. Nor is it illegal to cohabitate. So...Isn't that mainly what polygamy adds up to? Swinging and cohabitating at once?

Not that I want polygamy legal mind, but it makes much more sense to me that gay marriage.

jbcrider said...

Here is the original letter as posted on the lds.org website:


I agree it is a slippery path that follows.

Everyone Admires Mary said...

That's a good point about legalized sins, the Bible is very specific about God's stance on homosexuality, but never mentions tobacco (obviously, it wasn't really used in Biblical regions during Biblical times - it never mentions abortion either, I get the weakness of this argument). Even though the Bible is clear about the fact that if you've committed one sin, you've committed them all, I (as a human) have a tendency to think some sins are worse than others. If God was willing to wipe 2 cities out over the homosexual issue, I have to think that's a biggie to Him.

As an aside, homosexuality IS a risky behavior. Homosexuals are at higher risk for many diseases. If someone is with a person of the opposite gender, then engages in homosexual activity, and goes back to their other partner without their knowledge, they are putting that other person at risk. Also if they change partners, they are putting their new partner at risk. I understand that any type of promiscuous behavior increases your risk for disease, but if everyone would remain chaste, it would sure cut down on the risk to other people. This is, of course, something that people need to decide to do for themselves, but if it weren't so socially acceptable, it would be much less prevalent in our society.

Anonymous said...

So much to add, so little time...

The problem with trying to argue these political issues with the "its so because God said so" solution is that no human (unless you accept the notion of a live prophet) can really say "God said this" or "God said that". The best any of us can do is say "My all too human understanding of the word of God is thus and such"


Anonymous said...

Not that there are not some things that we can be very sure of. But these are the things that we should be best able to articulate with resorting to the "its just that way" arguement.


jbcrider said...

OR we can actually think it out. This is an issue with many Christians- Mormon or not- they would rather jump of the proverbial cliff then think it out first.

I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle. But chastity and spreading disease is an issue for both Homo and Hetero.

I do not think the Brethren had hateful intentions; I fear that some people might because of the general statement made. Also, a change in "policy" of the church not supporting one candidate over another is an interesting turn. Much like the church had a shake up after Joseph, moving to SLC, Polygamy, 1930s, and 1978, the church may have another one. Do we love or do we hate.

In the end it comes down to our own faith in Christ after coming to an answer of our own. Good ole' Brigham taught that.

Everyone Admires Mary said...

I acknowledged the point that disease applies to both homo and hetero. It's right there in my post. As I said before, there is a part of me that says,"Well, they're not hurting me by their behavior, let 'em do what makes 'em happy." I guess the point I was really making (and then kinda got off point) is just that banning God from political and public life can be dangerous for our society, and I don't want to have to live in a Godless society. It's bad enough as it is. I haven't really read what the church fathers said about the gay marriage issue, since I'm not LDS, but I know what my church believes. Also, I know you don't know me jbcrider, but I agree with you about the hate issue. You cannot reach people if you are nasty and hateful to them. I have gay friends, and I think they know my position on homosexuality. They know that I am deeply religious, but they don't feel threatened by me. I hope to make a difference to them so that they may come to Christ themselves some day. Being pushy and ugly is not how it'll get done, and it's not how Jesus would have reached them.

jbcrider said...


I agree I think we are on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Meant to say "without" not "with" last time I commented!


timpani76 said...

Wow, where was I when this turned into a gay marriage debate?

I've been against gay marriage because the rate of teen homosexuality has skyrocketed in the last 10-15 years (dang! I have got to find that Time magazine article, but not right now).

I think gay marriage would say to teens, once again, "if you have any sort of idea that you are gay, then you MUST absolutely be gay, and that's the end of that FOREVER". I really hate the idea that someone has to be GAY, they can't just be attracted to someone of the same sex once, or a few times, they MUST BE GAY if they have ever felt this way.

I guess I think gay marriage would further push the gay agenda which equates gayness as something you are BORN with and have NO control over (sorry for all the caps), which I totally disagree with.

jbcrider said...

I think people are born with different trials. They may not be "born gay" but they could be wired a little differently that contribute to it. Dallin H. Oaks even gave a talk supporting that.


I agree, I think peer pressure contributes to it. My only thing is that as Elder Oaks explained love needs to be the guiding principle. Someone may have those urges but the sin is in the action. One can control thoughts and actions with time and help. It may be hard but like overcoming most sins it is not supposed to be easy.

Having known many gay people I find it hard to believe they "chose" to live that life where they are feared and hated by friends, society, and family.

I am sorry to get off on this tangent, but Sever's post on truth and finding it for yourself got me thinking about people's perceptions of the Church and Church leaders. The gay subject just happened to be fresh with the recent First Presidency letter.