Discussion on Doubt

I posted a note on the Mormon Dialogue forum (MDDB), saying that I was doubting many of the core beliefs of the Church, and if I was in error if someone would point out my errors. I noted that all I wanted was truth. Here were some of the replies:

It is a little off-putting when the first thing I read was how dangerous it was to question anything in the Church.

Yes, it is dangerous. Try bringing up any of the taboos I listed in Sunday School, and see how far that gets you.

The truth from whose point of view?

Is all truth subjective? Or is there any truth that is objective? If you belong to a church which seems to not teach truth and deceives consistently, you might start believing a “truth” which has nothing to do with reality. But in that case it is not really truth at all. Placing your faith in false “truth” won’t get you very far in understanding the world, yourself, or life in general. I want truth that is most closely aligned with reality, rather than a truth that is far removed from reality.

One person shared this link, “Of Doubt, Faith, Questions, and Choices,” the thesis of which is that faith is a choice we make. Indeed, it is. At what point does choosing to believe become irrational? Or does it not matter if faith becomes irrational? I don’t lack faith because I don’t have satisfying answers. I lack faith because I’ve found answers that are completely and entirely contrary to what the Church teaches. Should I continue to choose to believe regardless of my new found knowledge? At what point does that become illogical, unreasonable, and irrational? Or does that not matter?

What do you want to learn the truth about?

The truth about reality. The truth about history. The truth about practice. The truth about doctrine. The truth about Joseph. The truth about plural marriage. The truth about the Book of Mormon. The truth about evolution. The truth about God. The truth about life. Reality, as it really is. Not just “faith promoting” truth, but actual truth. I can decide for myself if the truth is faith promoting or not.

Based on what I read of your blog, you are not even Mormon in thought anymore, even if you technically still are LDS. You are beyond doubting. You disbelieve.

One of the definitions of doubt is to “question the truth or fact of something,” and “to disbelieve.” I’m questioning the “truth” or “facts” that the Church teaches, and disbelieving what it has taught.

It seems, acccording [sic] to your attitude in your blogs,  there will be no satisfactory answers to your quesions [sic] that will aleviate [sic] your doubts.  Through my personal study of many of the issues you bring up, I have been able to satisfy any doubts that I have had about things, without the need to talk to church leaders or others about them. I have the faith and patience to know that God will eventually reveal the truth for any unresolved issues.

This is something that seems to be common among members of the Church. If they have a doubt, they should seek a satisfactory answer, even if it doesn’t resolve the issue. If the issue isn’t resolved to one’s satisfaction, we should just wait patiently until God eventually reveals the truth of it to us. But at what point does that become irrational? How many unresolved issues can you carry around with you throughout your life, hoping that one day they will be resolved? A hundred? A thousand? At what point do you recognize that you are living a life of unresolved issues that don’t make sense? Is that a life well lived?

Why an anonymous blog?  Do you not have the courage of your convictions?

Because if it wasn’t anonymous, I would surely be excommunicated for the doubts I’ve expressed, which would result in losing friend and family relationships, and possibly employment. I have no desire for that. Unfortunately, this is the guise one must take in order to honestly question things in the Church without severe repercussions in one’s life.

If Mormonism doesn’t work for Doubting Mormon, they should move on and find what will.

I am moving on in many ways, and finding many things that are working very well. But I have spent most of my life as a Mormon, and in exploring these doubts I’m in some ways trying to understand myself better. I’m trying to understand how I could have believed what I did, and how others continue to believe it, or if it is all simply based on emotive faith. Or am I wrong after all.

Why would you expect God would allow there to be visible archaeological evidence in support of the historicity of the Book of Mormon…

I don’t expect God would allow an overabundance of evidence for Book of Mormon historicity, as I’ve explained a number of times in previous posts. The problem with this, I believe, is that this results in a God that must hide things from us, things in the natural world, and is consequently deceptive and a trickster. What we find in the natural world is not really what was or is there. Why would we worship a God that would do this?

…physical evidence designed to convince sign-seekers…

Are all scientists sign seekers? They work with physical empirical evidence, and expect nothing less, in order to discover truth about the natural world and about reality. Shame on them.

Just as a side note, there was no sealing between plural wives.

You may be technically right, but just as two siblings are considered sealed together by virtue of their sealing to their parents, so are two plural wives to a husband likely considered sealed together as well. The “welding link” of the sealing extends beyond the direct sealing. Or do you believe you will never see your siblings again after this life? Would plural wives never see any other wife of the same husband?

Perhaps the poster only came here to advertise her blog?

That is one reason, yes. I wanted feedback on my doubts. Talking to an empty room quickly becomes dull.

…you seem to make much of a very narrow range of discussion in some blogs and books, and completely ignore the broader range of available information and opinion. You are clearly as confused about Constitutional law and history as you are about epistemological issues…

I am intimately aware of the blogs, books, information, and opinion available. Just because I didn’t develop my blog posts into doctoral theses doesn’t mean I “completely ignore them.” Stating I’m wrong, but then not saying specifically how you think I’m wrong, doesn’t get us very far in trying to better understand these issues.

Update: And now it looks like I’ve been banned from posting links on MDDB, because that’s just “spam.” Right. Well, I gave it a shot.

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One thought on “Discussion on Doubt

  1. “One person shared this link, “Of Doubt, Faith, Questions, and Choices,” the thesis of which is that faith is a choice we make. Indeed, it is. At what point does choosing to believe become irrational? Or does it not matter if faith becomes irrational? I don’t lack faith because I don’t have satisfying answers. I lack faith because I’ve found answers that are completely and entirely contrary to what the Church teaches. Should I continue to choose to believe regardless of my new found knowledge? At what point does that become illogical, unreasonable, and irrational? Or does that not matter?”

    A couple of thoughts:

    Stephen R. Covey once said that we don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. We all have different perspectives, paradigms, worldviews, ways of processing information, prejudices, experiences, and so on. And when it comes to faith claims, we are all (if you’ll forgive me for lapsing into legal language, because that’s simply part of my background) our own triers of fact. A trier of fact is responsible for considering evidence and rendering a verdict, so it is either a judge or a jury. We all decide for ourselves what evidence we will admit and for what purpose, what evidence we will exclude, how much weight we will (or will not) give to any given piece of evidence, and so on.

    As I stated in “Of Doubt, Faith, Questions, and Choices” I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I have had all of my questions answered (or even all of my doubts resolved). I don’t know how anyone could have a reasonably well-functioning brain and not have many questions about the history, doctrine, and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps there will be some exceedingly well-attended firesides (evening Church gatherings) on the other side or during the millennium with such themes as, “Brother Joseph, What Were you THINKING?” and “Brother Brigham, What Were You THINKING?” But, questions notwithstanding, I choose to believe because living the precepts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has borne good fruit in my life; it fills my soul. To each, his or her own.

    From a purely empirical perspective, faith is, by definition, irrational. Empiricism insists that I confine my conclusions entirely to what is observable; faith is, of course, outside that realm. But because I have neither the time, nor the inclination, nor (frankly) the intelligence to explore all possible scientific questions for myself, there are certain things (even things relating to current scientific knowledge) that I must simply take on faith, as must we all. For example, scientists tell us there are an infinite number of stars in the universe. Are we supposed to believe that because they’ve counted them all? Of course not; infinity, by definition, is uncountable. So even scientists take the proposition that there are an infinite number of stars in the universe essentially on faith. And the devout are not the only ones who wrestle with metaphysical, metaphorical questions: philosophers have been puzzling over the meaning of existence for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. And as important as scientific knowledge is, as the poet once wrote, “The heart has reasons that reason knows not of.” Those reasons occupy the realm, not of science, but rather the realms of faith and philosophy and other such pursuits.

    As for logic and reason, they have their place, but I like the dialogue between Mr. Spock and Lt. Valeris in “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country” that another poster at MDDB put in his signature line. Spock says, “History is replete with turning points, Lieutenant. We must have faith.” “Faith?” Valeris asks. “That the universe will unfold as it should,” Spock replies. As might well be expected of a logic-bound Vulcan, Valeris protests, “But that is not logical. Surely we must …” Whereupon Spock cuts him off to reply, “Logic, logic, logic! Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris. Not the end.”

    I’m sure we’ll simply have to agree to disagree. Someone once said that if two people are of exactly the same mind on absolutely everything, one of them is unnecessary. I certainly don’t think you’re unnecessary, and I do wish you well, any disagreement notwithstanding.

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