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

Proper Criteria For Good-Standing In The True Church

I made the comment:

My question is a philisophical one, and in answering it, you should not assume that the LDS church is or is not true. I'm asking you to try, as best as you can, to formulate a list of criteria for determining whether a person may be considered in good standing with a true church. Clearly this inquiry is intended to create a comparison with current LDS policies/doctrines on the subject and what people believe ought to be the policies/doctrines.

Disclaimer: This is a subject which requires more time than I could possibly devote, so I am sure that additional consideration on my part would result in major revisions/subtractions/additions. Subject to the foregoing disclaimer, here are my criteria:

1. A person should have faith in deity. Otherwise, it would be pointless for them to belong to, or be considered a member of, any organization purporting to be the true church of God.

2. The characteristics of the deity, as personally believed by the member, should bear a general resemblance to the official doctrine of the church, though the two need not be identical. Example: I believe God would never have commanded Moses or Abraham, or anyone else to shed the innocent blood of children, although the Old Testament presents a God willing to issue such commands. This disagreement is not so significant as to disqualify me from being in good standing, because I still believe in God's basic characteristics of being merciful, powerful, just, wise, and loving.

3. The person should have at least an honest desire to do good, and to keep the commandments as understood by that person to be authentic commandments by God. (commandments espoused by the purportedly true church which are incompatible with the person's conscience would not fall into this category)

4. The person should have a generally positive attitude toward the religion and desire the overall success of the organization, even if the person has major disagreements on doctrines or policies and seeks to bring about their revision.

5. The person should not be unrepentant of any major moral crimes (defined by an objective standard of secular morality).

6. The person should accept the official capacities of the organization's recognized leaders, even though such acceptance does not require agreement with those leaders on doctrine or policies, nor does it require a belief in the inerrency of those leaders' purported revelations, nor does it require following those leaders' directives on any issues apart from internal governance of the Church as an organization.

Alright. That was my first attempt. What does everyone else think? Thanks for your input and thoughts.

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