William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Most Potent Criticisms Against The LDS Church

The question was put: "What types of criticism against the church do you think are the most difficult to answer? (1) Arguments using the Bible to attack LDS doctrine; (2) Criticism of church history ( polygamy, MMM, first vision,etc.); (3) Questions concerning the authenticity of LDS scripure (Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham); (4) Ciricism of modern LDS culture and views; (5) Secular; or (6) None."

To which I responded:
I selected "Ciricism of modern LDS culture and views." Although my criticism comes from a secular perspective, it is not because I am an atheist or an agnostic. It is because I believe that religious doctrines should not be inconsistent with science and reason. It IS permissible for religious doctrine to supplement where science and reason do not appear to provide clear answers, but we should not find ourselves ignoring objective data in order to maintain our religious beliefs.

I did not select the choice "secular" because I don't believe it was well-defined. Indeed, it appears some posters hold the view that "secular" criticisms of the church may only be leveled by those who don't believe in God or don't believe in authentic spirutual experiences. I don't agree. One may be faithful but still maintain secular criticisms.

I also did not select the issues having to do with church history because, although I believe they are critically important, I also believe that the Church would be much more easily equipped to deal with its history if it corrected the errors of the present, including making, without limitation, the following changes:

1) abolishing the culture of considering the living prophets' purported revelations to be inerrant;
2) allowing members, within reason, to publicly disagree with leaders on various topics without fear of discipline;
3) having greater involvment in the furtherance of indisputable moral values (i.e., openly speaking out about, and actively taking a role in the prevention of, human rights abuses, slavery, genocide, destruction of the environment, domestic violence, corporate corruption, social injustices, etc.);
4) adopting more realistic standards of dress (not saying people need to walk into Sacrament meeting with nothing but a thong on, but we shouldn't be criticizing young women because their shoulders are showing);
5) publicly announcing once and for all that neither God nor the Church frowns upon, dislikes, or discourages interracial marriages, and that members are free to select their own spouses, deciding for themselves what character traits are most likely to produce a happy marriage;
6) abolishing the culture of making people in difficult financial circumstances feel guilty for not paying tithing;
7) adopting an official and open policy of fairly considering historical and scientific evidence in formulating official positions on various subjects, inviting members and experts to share argument and evidence without fear of reprisal, and making church historical records more accessible to members and the public;
re-evaluating the rationale for, content of, extent of, and implementation of doctrines concerning chastity, including issues related to masturbation, oral sex, sexual fantasies, pornography, homosexuality, sexless marriages, the legitimacy of sex as having among its purposes physical gratification, etc.;
9) the revision of temple worthiness standards to be more inclusive of members who are in good faith trying to be good and follow God's will as they understand it;
10) Making temple garments more adaptable to modern dress standards.

No comments:

Post a Comment