William James

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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On The Supposed Irrelevance Of Discussions About The Historic Practice Of Polygyny

The comment was made:

"I don't understand why people have to come to terms with [polygyny], period Either you believe in modern revelation or you don't, end of discussion.

Like a dog chewing a bone it never gets old for some people."

To which I responded:

I strongly disagree. Those who choose to believe in the infallibility of modern revelation by LDS leaders have a choice to make: either ignore the facts, or reconcile the facts with your beliefs. Certainly it is your choice if you want to ignore them, but most rational people, including those who choose to believe, will make at least some attempt to reconcile their faith with things which appear to others to discredit or undermine the faith. We would not tell a child, for example, "Either you believe in Santa Clause or you don't; the wrapped presents you found in your parents' closet two days before Christmas and which were magically under the tree on Christmas morning delivered by Santa Clause overnight warrant no discussion." Not only is it the child's right to question and be curious, but it behooves all who consider themselves to be honest seekers of the truth to confront all evidence and arguments which cut against their beliefs. It may very well be that, in some situations, no matter how hard we struggle to find certainty on certain questions, we will in the end be faced with a simple question of faith- whether to believe or not to believe (an example, I think, would include faith in God, because no matter how hard we try, no objective indisputable conclusive proof is available to the masses to show he exists, nor is there proof of the contrary, so we must simply decide to believe or not). But that is no excuse to not even consider evidence. In the case of polygyny, it is particularly critical to LDS beliefs because two revelations that appear on their face to contradict on another (i.e., polygyny MUST be practiced, and polygyny must NOT be practiced) must be reconciled if we are to consider each to be authentic and error-free. If we cannot reconcile them, then, while we might choose to continue to believe in modern revelation, we should at least be humbled and seasoned in understanding that, even those things which appear to us to be authentic revelations from God might still be in error.

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